Ford Gets Help from U.S. for Exports

Loan to help export cars to Canada and Mexico

The United States will guarantee a loan of $3.1 billion to Ford on August 5 to help export more than 200,000 cars to Canada and Mexico, the White House announced hours before President Barack Obama visits one of the company plants.

Following Obama's stated intention earlier this year to double U.S. exports within five years, the federal "Export-Import Bank of the United States will announce a new loan guarantee for Ford that will finance $3.1 billion of export sales," said the White House.

The president will visit a Ford plant in his hometown of Chicago on August 5, a week after making similar trips to the other "big three" auto manufacturers, General Motors and Chrysler.

The two firms emerged from a bankruptcy process designed by Washington, which supporters say has made the firms leaner and more competitive, but Ford managed to pull through the economic downturn without federal aid.

The company, however, is still supported by the state through loan guarantees to develop more environmentally friendly cars, with its new "energy efficient 2011 Ford Explorer" to be exported to more than 90 countries, according to the White House.

The Obama administration has continued to argue that its move to grant the firms taxpayer money in loans saved almost a million U.S. jobs.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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