Obama okays US Exim bank loans for Cambodia, Laos
14 Jun 2009 17:42:08 PST
WASHINGTON, June 12 - President Barack Obama has
cleared the way for the U.S. Export-Import Bank to help finance
exports of U.S. goods to Laos and Cambodia, the White House
said on Friday.
Obama issued a pair of memorandums saying each of the two
Southeast Asian nations has "ceased to be a Marxist-Leninist
country," as defined under the 1945 Export-Import Bank Act.
"This designation will now allow U.S. companies to apply
for financing thru the US Export-Import bank, which provides
working capital guarantees, export credit insurance and loan
guarantees," the White House spokesman said.
The policy change in is response to the commitment of both
countries to open up their markets, the spokesman said.
It comes as some in Congress are pressing for renewal of
U.S. trade sanctions on another Southeast Asian nation,
Myanmar, which has charged pro-democracy advocate Aung San Suu
Kyi with violating the terms of her house arrest. She faces a
maximum five-year term if found guilty of the charges.
Cambodia and Laos, with a combined population of more than
20 million, are small markets for the United States.
Last year, the United States exported $154 million worth of
goods to Cambodia and just $18 million to Laos.
U.S. imports of mostly clothing and other textiles from
Cambodia totaled more than $2.4 billion last year. The United
States bought $42 million worth of goods from Laos in 2008.