WASHINGTON (Jan. 19)
The Export-Import Bank today announced the authorization of a $35,000,000 credit to Israel and said they were earmarking an additional $65,000,000 for the establishment of further credits before the end of this year.
The $35,000,000 will be available for spending by Israel as soon as the loan contract is signed by the Israeli Minister of Finance. It is designated for use “for the execution of various agricultural projects,” the Bank said.
The $65,000,000 earmarked by the Bank will be available until Dec. 31, 1949 “for the establishment of further credits to finance projects in the fields of communications, transportation, manufacturing, housing and public works,” the Bank said, adding that such projects are now under study by the staff.
The $35,000,000 credit for agricultural purposes and other credits to be approved under the $65,000,000 earmark will carry a three-and-a-half percent annual interest and will mature in 15 years, the Bank said. “It Is believed that the credit extended by the Export-Import Bank to assist the agricultural development program of Israel will contribute substantially to the overall economic development of the country,” the statement of the Bank emphasized.
LOAN COMES TO ISRAEL AT IMPORTANT MOMENT. ELIAHU EPSTEIN SAYS
Eliahu Epstein, Israeli representative to the United States, told a press conference that the loan “comes to Israel at a very important moment in the life of the new state. We believe we are entering a more quiet period,” he said, adding that he thought Israel would now be able to use the loan to the best advantage in rehabilitation, restoration of peace and absorption of immigrants now arriving at the rate of 25,000 a month.
“The loan is most welcome,” he said. “It will be much appreciated by the People of Israel.” He expressed the hope that present negotiations between Israel and Egypt would end successfully and bring peace to the Middle East, which in turn would enable Israel to make better use of the loan.
Dr. Oscar Gass, economic advisor to the Israeli Government, who has represented the Israeli Finance Ministry In the negotiations with the Bank, said the loan represented only “a relatively modest fraction” of Israel’s total investment program, which, he added, for the next three years would be around $800,000,000.