White House Approves Ex-Im Loan for Vinasat-2

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PARIS — The U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank needed a presidential waiver before it could grant a direct loan of $125.8 million to Vietnam to buy the Vinasat-2 telecommunications satellite from Lockheed Martin, Ex-Im said June 26.

The waiver was granted — a bit late, given that Vinasat-2 was launched May 15 — and Ex-Im’s board will now submit the loan to the U.S. Congress for any comment. The bank is then expected to approve the loan following the usual 35-day comment period.

In its statement announcing U.S. President Barack Obama’s Presidential Determination on the transaction, the bank said the loan will help finance the export of U.S. goods and services valued at $215 million.

Under U.S. policy, a presidential waiver is required any time the bank proposes a loan of more than $50 million to “a Marxist-Leninist country.” In 1998, then-U.S. President Bill Clinton determined that doing business with Vietnam was in the national interest of the United States.

Bank Chairman Fred P. Hochberg, in a statement applauding the waiver, said the bank has identified Vietnam as one of the world’s top nine nations with the greatest sales potential for U.S. producers.

The loan will be granted to the state-owned Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group, which is reserving a portion of Vinasat-2’s capacity for its own use and selling the rest on the commercial market.