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Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) has signed an agreement for a US dollar-denominated export credit line totalling US$30mn with JSC Kazkommertsbank (KKB), a commercial bank in Kazakhstan. The credit line was cofinanced with Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC).

This export credit line will provide funds for Kazakh firms via KKB to finance the import of machinery and equipment from Japanese firms. This is the first export credit line JBIC has offered to a country that attained independence after the collapse of former Soviet Union, including Central Asian countries (ie, CIS excluding Russia).

Kazakhstan has turned around from economic stagnation in the period immediately following independence from the collapse of former Soviet Union in 1991 and has registered a robust growth in recent years by developing natural resources, including abundant oil and natural gas reserves, and by taking steps to promote a market economy. The economy thus grew 9.5% in 2002. It is against this backdrop that Japanese firms are increasingly focusing their attention on this country as an export and investment destination. JBIC provided this facility in response to many requests received from Japanese businesses for creating an export credit line for a private-sector bank in Kazakhstan.

KKB is the largest private commercial bank in terms of assets in the country and has a broad client base, extending loans to a wide range of domestic firms. It is expected that this facility will contribute to increasing exports of Japanese firms.