Hochberg Meets with President Santos and Colombian Business Leaders
BOGOTA, Colombia, Aug. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Fred P. Hochberg, chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), is leading a business-development mission in Colombia on August 9 – 11, 2011, to promote Ex-Im Bank financing available to support the purchase of U.S. goods and services by Colombian buyers to meet the country's growing infrastructure needs.
In Bogota on August 9, Chairman Hochberg met with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, other government officials and business leaders in a variety of sectors.
"In Latin America, Colombia is one of Ex-Im Bank's strongest markets, second only to Mexico. The Bank has authorized almost $3.8 billion to support U.S. exports to Colombia in fiscal year 2011 to date," said Chairman Hochberg. "We provide an array of innovative financing tools and resources for Colombian buyers to purchase U.S. goods and services."
Commenting on the pending U.S.-Colombian Free Trade Agreement, Hochberg noted, "Ex-Im Bank is supporting Colombian companies as productive partners with U.S. exporters for the mutual benefit of our countries. The free trade agreement with Colombia will allow the Bank to harness additional opportunities on behalf of American exporters in infrastructure and other key sectors."
Hochberg and senior Ex-Im Bank staff held a discussion in Bogota with the board of directors of the Colombian Petroleum Services Chamber (CAMPETROL). They also met with representatives from Colombia's national oil company, Ecopetrol S.A., and Refineria de Cartagena S.A. (Reficar), a majority-owned independent subsidiary of Ecopetrol.
At an American Chamber of Commerce breakfast in Bogota on Tuesday, August 9, Hochberg spoke with Colombian business leaders about Ex-Im Bank financing available to encourage companies to purchase U.S. goods and services. He is focused on expanding use of the Bank's products for infrastructure development, energy production, medical and transportation equipment, construction and other sectors.
Hochberg will participate in an AmCham breakfast in Medellin on Wednesday, August 10. He is also scheduled to speak with Colombian companies in the transportation sector in Medellin. A meeting with officials from Avianca Airlines in Bogota is planned for Thursday, August 11.
Colombia is one of nine key markets (others are Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, South Africa, Nigeria, India, Indonesia and Vietnam) where Ex-Im Bank is focusing its business-development efforts. The Bank has authorized nearly $3.8 billion in support of U.S. exports to Colombia in FY 2011 to date. This level of financing represents a sharp increase from the Bank's total portfolio of $127 million in Colombia in FY 2008.
Ecopetrol is a significant customer of Ex-Im Bank financing. In February 2011, the Bank authorized nearly $1 billion for two financing facilities that will support Ecopetrol's purchases of goods and services from a wide range of U.S. exporters.
In May 2011, the Bank approved $2.84 billion in financing to support Reficar's purchases of equipment and services from more than 150 large and small U.S. engineering/design, equipment supply, contracting and process-license companies.
Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that helps create and maintain U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers. The Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms, including working capital guarantees, export-credit insurance and financing to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services.
In FY 2011 through August 4, 2011, Ex-Im Bank has approved more than $24.5 billion in total authorizations – an all-time Ex-Im record. This total included 2,548 U.S. small-business transactions. The Bank's FY 2011 authorizations to date represent a 70 percent increase over its FY 2008 total of $14.4 billion.
Ex-Im Bank's authorizations through August 4 will support $31.5 billion in U.S. export sales and approximately 213,000 American jobs in communities across the country. For more information, visit the Bank's Web site at www.exim.gov.