I have signed H.R. 5548, the Export-Import Bank Act Amendments of 1986, which extends the Bank's charter for 6 more years. This sends an important signal to both our exporting community and foreign suppliers that American exporters will continue to be able to compete vigorously for business throughout the world. I am pleased that this bill gives the Bank the authority for the tied-aid war chest that I requested in September 1985. This authority will give the United States needed leverage for use in negotiations to eliminate predatory financing practices whereby countries mix official export financing with concessional foreign aid in an effort to undercut bids on major overseas projects.
Although I have signed this bill, I must express some reservations about several of its provisions. I am disappointed that the bill sets severe restrictions on the new authority for the interest rate matching program (I-Match) I proposed in the budgets for both fiscal years 1986 and 1987. Section 8 of H.R. 5548 redefines eligibility standards for Export-Import Bank programs to exclude specified Marxist-Leninist countries, expanding the current statutory definition of Communist countries that are ineligible to participate in the Bank's programs. I note that some of the countries deemed ineligible under the new definition have been making substantial progress in redirecting their economic and political systems towards Western models. Since my administration agrees that access of Communist states to Eximbank programs should continue to be treated with special care, I am directing the Secretary of State to review the new list expeditiously and to advise me which, if any, of those countries should not be treated as Marxist-Leninist for purposes of this legislation. I note that Tibet is listed as a country in section 8. The United States recognizes Tibet as part of the People's Republic of China. I interpret Tibet's inclusion as a separate country to be a technical oversight.