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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 20, 2003
  Contact: Victoria Park, Commerce Dept.
(202) 482-0310
Andrew Yarrow, Ex-Im Bank
(202) 565-3200

BUSH ADMINISTRATION STREAMLINES SERVICES TO HELP US BUSINESSES GROW
Agencies Link Trade Information, Counseling, and Financing Services
To Expand US Exports and Strengthen Competitiveness

The U.S. Department of Commerce and the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) announced new measures today to coordinate export-counseling services and simplify access to financing for U.S. firms that compete for international export sales. Linda Conlin, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Trade Development, and Eduardo Aguirre, Ex-Im Bank Vice Chairman, signed two memorandums of understanding (MOUs) that strengthen inter-agency cooperation to support U.S. exporters.

"This Administration is committed to expanding trade opportunities in global markets," Conlin said. "We are streamlining our services so we can help U.S. businesses be more competitive as they seek to grow and create more jobs for American workers."

"These agreements exemplify how the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC) is successfully bringing together government resources on behalf of U.S. exporters," Aguirre said. "The goal is to leverage what each agency does best so that both large and small U.S. businesses can increase overseas sales and support jobs here at home."

Commerce and Ex-Im Bank signed two MOUs. The first MOU simplifies access to financing for U.S. exporters. When companies contact Commerce's Trade Advocacy Center for help procuring foreign commercial contracts, they will also be referred to Ex-Im Bank for information on export financing. This change reflects input directly from U.S. businesses, which recommended that Commerce's Advocacy Center and Ex-Im Bank coordinate in promoting U.S. exports.

The second MOU allows individuals who call Ex-Im Bank's toll-free 1-800-565-EXIM line seeking general export and trade-finance assistance or information on federal trade programs to be directly routed to Commerce's award-winning Trade Information Center (TIC). The TIC's highly trained staff provides counseling and information to nearly 70,000 customers annually on export start-up, documentation, country and customs requirements, and other federal trade resources. Ex-Im Bank staff is also at the TIC to answer inquiries on Ex-Im Bank programs. The TIC can be reached at 1-800-USA-TRADE, or online at www.export.gov/tic.

The Office of Trade Development (TD) at the U.S. Department of Commerce offers U.S. businesses resources and services for all stages of the exporting process. With industry-focused experts to provide strategic research and analysis, TD helps small and large U.S. businesses access the global marketplace. TD also administers 1-800-USA-TRADE, a nationwide hotline available to companies seeking government export assistance and counseling.

Ex-Im Bank is an independent U.S. government agency that helps finance the sale of U.S. exports, primarily to growth markets throughout the world, by providing guarantees, insurance, and loans. In fiscal year 2002, Ex-Im Bank supported nearly $13 billion of U.S. exports worldwide.

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