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Marek Belka to Outline Business Opportunities Available to U.S. Exporters in Poland During May 3rd Speech at Washington's Omni Shoreham Hotel


Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Michael Suydam (202) 565-3541

Marek Belka, Deputy Prime Minister of Poland, will address U.S. exporters and lenders, foreign buyers and government officials attending the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) Annual Conference on Friday, May 3, 2002, 9:40 a.m. at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington. Mr. Belka will be available to speak with members of the media immediately following the speech.

Ex-Im Bank (www.exim.gov) serves as the official export credit agency of the United States. The mission of Ex-Im Bank is to help finance the sale of U.S. goods and services throughout the world, which helps create and sustain U.S. jobs. Ex-Im Bank supported almost $12.5 billion of U.S. exports worldwide in fiscal year 2001 ($4 million to Poland) and is a key player on the Bush Administration's trade policy, foreign policy, and economic stimulus policy teams.

Ex-Im Bank assists U.S. companies looking to expand into the global marketplace, especially to emerging markets where private financing is unavailable or insufficient, and to provide the financing U.S. exporters need to compete against foreign companies.

Belka has served in the cabinet of Polish Prime Minister Leszek Miller since October 2001, and serving in the same capacity in 1997 in the government of Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz. From February 1996 to February 1997, and again from November 1997 to October 2001, Belka was an economic adviser to President Aleksander Kwasniewski.

An author of over a dozen books and more than 100 scholarly articles, Belka obtained his degree in economics from Lodz University in 1972. A Fulbright Foundation scholar at Columbia University in 1978-79, he also studied at the University of Chicago in 1985-86 and at the London School of Economics in 1990.

Ex-Im Bank's Annual Conference will also feature various members of the United States Congress, including Congressmen J.C. Watts (R-Oklahoma) and John LaFalce (D-New York), Congresswomen Jennifer Dunn (R-Washington) and Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Michigan), as well as Noreen Doyle of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Belka's visit coincides with the Polish government's current privatization and modernization efforts. As Poland prepares for accession to the European Union, the government has focused attention on improving infrastructure and modernizing critical economic sectors such as transportation, information and computer-based technologies, as well as natural resources.

Belka and the Polish government are reaching out to U.S. companies looking to expand into lucrative foreign markets, helping provide the capital Poland needs to build a strong and healthy 21st century economy. Companies such as GE, Pepsico, Boeing and AT&T have already found the Polish market to be an important factor in their overall global sales goals.

Ex-Im Bank has long stood ready to assist U.S. companies that wish to do business in Poland. Ex-Im Bank opened for business in the Central European nation soon after its initial chartering by Congress in 1934. The first Polish transaction supporting the export of $90,000 of cotton from McFadden & Bros occurred in March 1936. Since that first deal, Ex-Im Bank has supported more than $1.1 billion in U.S. exports to Poland and currently maintains a total exposure of $498 million.

The two-day conference will also include specialized workshops for exporters, lenders and buyers, and will feature awards ceremonies for Small Business Exporter of the Year, Small Business Bank of the Year, and Small Business Broker of the Year for their contributions in helping Ex-Im Bank increase U.S. exports and sustain U.S. jobs.