U.S., Israel sign off on loan guarantees

Oct. 24, 2012 at 4:52 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Obama administration and Israeli economic officials Wednesday extended a U.S.-Israel loan guarantee program to support Israeli economic growth, officials said.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner signed for the United States and Finance Ministry Director General Doron Cohen for Israel, the department said in a release. Signing of the memorandum of understanding came during this week's U.S.-Israel Joint Economic Development Group meeting in Washington.

"Israel is a vital partner and ally of the United States," Geithner said. "The continued availability of this loan guarantee will allow Israel to continue to enjoy access to capital markets at affordable rates in the years to come."

President Obama signed legislation in July extending the U.S. loan guarantee program for Israel for four years, giving the Jewish state access to up to $3.8 billion in future loan guarantees. The program began in 2003 as part of a $9 billion commitment, Treasury said.

The Israeli economy posted growth of 4.6 percent last year.

The Bank of Israel projects growth of 3.3 percent for 2012 with around 2 percent inflation.

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