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Eximbank should focus on overseas projects: minister

Korea Eximbank should focus on long-term projects of a global scale as the key export credit agency of the country, Finance Minister Bahk Jae-wan said Thursday.

Speaking at a forum organized by the state-run bank, Bahk said, “The Bank should reduce short-term products such as trade financing, which can be mainly provided by the private sector, but increase mid- to long-term financing for large-scale overseas projects.”

Bahk told the participants including policymakers and chief of financial institutions that Korea Eximbank should reach out to small and medium-sized businesses to help their trade financing a government policy bank.

In doing so, he emphasized the importance of securing necessary expertise and manpower for the industry in general.

“The bank should nurture human resources and strengthen the organization. As a result, more Korean companies will make inroads into overseas green industries, resource development, and plants market.”

He also urged the bank to continue to expand overseas networks to facilitate the transfer of advanced financing methods and lead the industry.

The advice comes as the state-run bank has been strengthening efforts to support trade financing of smaller businesses with the Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency. The two in February signed an agreement to support financing of outstanding businesses under the Hidden Champion Program for their business expansion plans.

The state bank has also supported emerging market economies such as Vietnam and Bolivia to assist their development projects. In March it signed a deal to provide a $50 million loan to Bolivia and gave $50 billion in trade financing to Vietnamese importers last year.

The Korea Eximbank Global Conference 2011 in Seoul gathered officials from international institutions such as Asian Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and global financial companies including JP Morgan, UBS and Citigroup.

By Cynthia J. Kim (cynthiak@heraldcorp.com)
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