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Bo Ollison orLinda Formella (202) 565-3200

Washington, D.C.: Today in the Oval Office, President George W. Bush signed legislation extending authorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) until September 30, 2006. The U.S. House of Representatives passed Ex-Im Bank's reauthorization legislation with a vote of 344 to 78 on June 5, and the Senate approved the legislation by unanimous consent on June 6.

I have today signed into law S. 1372, the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act of 2002. This legislation will ensure the continued effective operation of the Export-Import Bank, which helps advance U.S. trade policy, facilitate the sale of U.S. goods and services abroad, and create jobs here at home, President Bush said.

With the overwhelming support of the Bush Administration, the Congress and the exporting community, Ex-Im Bank can move forward and continue helping U.S. exporters succeed in highly competitive international markets. With this legislation, Ex-Im Bank has also been given new guidance from Congress and the Administration to help the agency provide support for U.S. small businesses, women- and minority-own companies, renewable energy exports, exports to sub-Saharan Africa, and other key areas important for U.S. trade policy promotion, said Ex-Im Bank Vice Chairman Eduardo Aguirre, Jr.

The President's signature today marks a new growth opportunity for small businesses across the country. The bill gives U.S. companies the ability to take their ingenuity overseas, and at the same time, stokes the fires of the economy here at home, said Congressman Michael G. Oxley (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

Over the last sixty years, the Ex-Im Bank has supported more than $400 billion in U.S. exports. Because the Ex-Im Bank creates and sustains American jobs, it must be reauthorized, said Congressman Doug Bereuter (R-Neb.), chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade.

Each and every transaction supported by the Ex-Im Bank directly benefits American workers. Small businesses are the engines of job creation in our economy, and our legislation gives the Ex-Im Bank the tools it needs to make sure that small business exporters have full access to export financing, said Congressman John LaFalce (D-N.Y.), ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee.

The need for Ex-Im Bank is as strong as it's ever been, perhaps even stronger. Ex-Im Bank has a critical role to play in leveling the playing field for U.S. exporters by matching the public financing made available by foreign governments, said Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.

The Export-Import Bank is an important component of U.S. economic and international policy. It helps U.S. companies get their products and services to customers overseas, and it helps new exporters get started in the global marketplace. The Export-Import Bank is a valuable tool in promoting exports, said Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), ranking member of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on International Trade and Finance.

Ex-Im Bank is the official export credit agency of the United States and helps to finance U.S. exports, primarily to developing markets, by providing loans, guarantees and export credit insurance. The agency must be reauthorized periodically by the U.S. Congress in order to continue to operate.

In fiscal year 2001, Ex-Im Bank supported $12.5 billion of U.S. exports worldwide. In dollar volume, Ex-Im Bank's financing for U.S. small businesses reached 18 percent of authorizations, well exceeding the Bank's previous legislative mandate of 10 percent. In transaction volume, 90 percent of the Bank's transactions were in direct support of small businesses.