The United States extended its loan guarantee program to Israel for another four years by signing a $3.8 billion memorandum of understanding at the US Treasury on Wednesday.
US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Israeli Finance Ministry Director General Doron Cohen signed the agreement, which came during a week of meetings of the US-Israel Joint Economic Development Group (JEDG) in Washington.
“Israel is a vital partner and ally of the United States,” said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. “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.”
“Israel appreciates the longstanding extraordinary support of the United States for Israel and the relationship between two countries that have so much in common,” said Cohen. “The JEDG and Loan Guarantees program have contributed to the security and stability of the Israeli economy, and the JEDG will continue to enhance the relationship between our countries.”
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said in an interview with Israel Radio on Thursday that the loan guarantees are another anchor to stabilize the Israeli economy and their renewal is an indication of US friendship and commitment to Israel.
The memorandum of understanding secures the US guarantees that are designed to help the Israeli government access financial resources from private capital markets at affordable rates, in order to promote the country’s economic growth and stability.
The US Treasury said in a statement that the new framework affirms the United States’ confidence in Israel’s strong economic fundamentals and the government of Israel’s solid track record of policy implementation.
In July this year President Barack Obama signed legislation extending the US loan guarantee program for Israel to 2016, allowing the US to provide access to up to $3.8 billion in future loan guarantees as part of a $9 billion commitment made by the US in 2003.