US exporters attending the 29th annual conference of US Ex-Im Bank have been assured useful information about billions of dollars in potential export opportunities, including nearly US$25bn dollars in planned infrastructure improvements in South Africa.


“Ex-Im Bank’s annual conference this year will emphasise sales opportunities for US exporters in key world markets,” says James Lambright, chairman and president of the Bank. “Exporters, both small and large, will be able to identify potential sales, meet with lenders, and receive updates on Ex-Im Bank products.”


US Trade Representative Susan Schwab has been invited to address attendees, and the conference will also feature keynote presentations by other major leaders in international trade, including a talk by Li Ruogo, chairman and president of China Eximbank.


Over 1,000 lenders, exporters and representatives of international trade agencies are expected to attend the event, which is scheduled for April 12-13 at Washington, DC’s Omni Shoreham Hotel.


South Africa’s plans for major enhancements to the region’s electrical and transportation infrastructure will be discussed by Maria Ramos, group chief executive of Transnet, and Brian Dames, managing director of Eskom.


Transnet is a diversified organisation whose sole shareholder is the South African government. It operates and controls the major transport infrastructure within South Africa, including rail transportation of freight, port infrastructure and marine related services, port and terminal operations, pumping and managing the storage of petroleum and gas products and other activities.


Transnet’s expansion plans, either underway or under development, total about US$10bn.


Eskom is a South African government-owned utility that generates, transports, and distributes electricity. It supplies electricity to 95% of South Africa and 60% of the electricity consumed on the African continent. To satisfy growing demands for energy, Eskom has expansion plans either underway or under development valued at approximately US$15bn.


Li and Lambright signed an agreement in December 2006 intended to increase US exports to China.


“The cooperation in sovereign-guarantee financing will help boost exports of advanced technology and equipment from the US to China, strengthen economic and trade ties between the two countries, and will definitely breathe new life into the two economies,” Li said in a statement released in connection with the agreement.