US Ex-Im Bank to provide liquidity to small exporters

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Washington, Nov 26 (UNI) The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) has enhanced several of its trade finance products to help counter the tightening of credit and the lack of liquidity in the export marketplace and help US exporters, and in particular small-businesses, create and maintain export-related jobs.

The changes, briefed to the Bank's board of directors yesterday, expand access to the Bank's trade finance products, making more US exporters, including more small business exporters, and lenders, eligible to apply for financing backed by Ex-Im Bank.

''These actions help maintain the flow of US exports to international buyers and keep US export workers on the job,'' said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President James H Lambright.

The Bank's board of directors granted special delegated authority to help meet increased demand to insure US lenders' confirmation of Korean bank letters of credit.

The board's action allows senior Ex-Im Bank officials to approve requests for up to 2.9 billion dollars in insurance cover involving letters of credit issued by 11 Korean financial institutions.

Surveys of relevant confirming banks and brokers indicate that due to instability in the market there is a significant gap in commercial capacity available to support letters of credit issued by Korean financial institutions, says a bank press release.

According to the office of the US Trade Representative, US exports to South Korea exceeded 34 billion dollars in 2007. The vast majority of exporters selling to South Korea are small- and medium-sized businesses, according to the US Census Bureau.

In addition to the action involving Korean exports, Ex-Im Bank will be increasing access to direct lending and working capital loan guarantees, the latter of critical importance to small- and medium-sized exporters and companies providing goods and services destined for export by other US companies.

The Bank will now consider covering warranty letters of credit up to 20 per cent of the loan amount or 1.5 million dollars, whichever is lower, for a term of 12 months.

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