Bucharest event highlights Ex-Im Bank support of East Europe infrastructure

Two-day Infrastructure Finance Conference focused on financing for transportation, telecommunications, water, wastewater-treatment, health-care, energy, and other types of infrastructure projects in countries from Poland to Serbia and from Romania to Turkey. Ex-Im Bank officials emphasized efforts to develop municipal and other local projects, as well as public-private partnerships...

BUCHAREST, Romania, Nov. 17, 2004 (PRNewswire) -- More than 100 business, banking, and local and national government leaders from nine Southeast and Central European countries discussed ways to advance infrastructure financing with U.S. and Western European government and banking officials here during a two-day Infrastructure Finance Conference organized by the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank).

The conference focused on financing for transportation, telecommunications, water, wastewater-treatment, health-care, energy, and other types of infrastructure projects in countries from Poland to Serbia and from Romania to Turkey. Ex-Im Bank officials emphasized efforts to develop municipal and other local projects, as well as public-private partnerships.

"Financing significant infrastructure projects and expanding U.S. trade with Southeast and Central Europe are both key objectives of the Export-Import Bank," Ex-Im Bank Chairman Philip Merrill said. "Infrastructure is vital to economic development and to the well-being of any nation and community."

Ex-Im Bank, which has helped finance nearly $2 billion in U.S. exports to the region during the last half-dozen years, has a long track record in infrastructure financing and features an initiative to provide financing for municipal and regional projects without national-government, or sovereign, guarantees. Ex-Im Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which also participated in the conference, are unique in providing financing to local governments.

"While multilateral development banks provide financing for infrastructure projects in poorer countries, equity, bond, and commercial-lender financing is often unavailable particularly for national, city, and state governments in areas such as Southeast and Central Europe," Ex-Im Bank Senior Vice President and Head of Export Finance Jeffrey Miller said in a speech yesterday. "That's where export credit agencies such as Ex-Im Bank play such a critical role."

U.S. Ambassador to Romania J.D. Crouch II affirmed the importance of U.S. economic and security relations with the region in yesterday's luncheon keynote address.

This year, Ex-Im Bank marks its 71st year of helping finance the sale of U.S. exports, primarily to emerging markets throughout the world, by providing loan guarantees, export credit insurance, and direct loans. In fiscal year 2003, it authorized financing to support $14.3 billion of U.S. exports worldwide. For more information on Ex-Im Bank, visit www.exim.gov/seceurope.htm.

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