The US Export-Import Bank's direct loans available for Vietnamese companies to purchase goods and services from the US has been increased to US$1.5 billion this year, half a million more than the limit in 2011, a bank official said.
James S. Lewis, sales development manager of the US Ex-Im Bank, told VnExpress last week that the loans would be extended not only to public sector but also Vietnamese private companies, including medium and small scale firms.
He said that the bank mainly targets infrastructure, renewable energy and health projects, but enterprises in other industries can apply for the loans if they are guaranteed by the Ex-Im Bank's Vietnamese partners.
A report on the news web site Vietnamnet quoted Lewis as saying the preferential treatment was being given to Vietnamese companies because of the country's steady growth in GDP, political stability and need for infrastructure development. Vietnam is one of nine countries that the bank is supporting, he said.
He said loans already given to Vietnamese companies have surged from $32 million last year to $237 million now.
Vietnam's economy will recover and the Ex-Im Bank is ready to satisfy the capital demand of Vietnamese companies, he added.
The bank will have Vietnamese commercial banks their partners provide information about the companies asking for loans because of the bad debt situation and "transparency" issues with Vietnamese companies, Lewis said.
The financing is also part of the US's efforts to boost its exports to Vietnam.
As of 2012, the lending saw a $500 million increase from the authorized $1 million the US bank offered Vietnam in 2011, according to the bank's press release in February.
Interest rates on the loans are set at between 2-2.88 percent a year, Vietnamnet reported Tuesday.
Some Vietnamese companies had already received support.
The state-owned Vietnam Post and Telecommunication Group early this month obtained the US Ex-Im Bank's approval for a $118 million direct loan to buy a satellite and additional goods and services from a US company.