U.S. Trade and Development Agency

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  Donna Thiessen 

                                                                                                                                                                        (703) 875-4357



Agency Provides Grants Totaling $1.2 Million to Advance Regional Integration


MANAGUA, NICARAGUA – (September 1, 2006) USTDA awarded grants this week totaling $1.2 million that reflect the agency’s continued commitment to trade capacity building and the implementation of the Central America - Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR).  The grants support priority transportation infrastructure projects in the region and are the result of the first phase of the CAFTA-DR Trade Integration Initiative, which was launched in October 2005. 


 “USTDA recognizes that trade and investment are essential catalysts for development,” said USTDA Director Thelma J. Askey on this week’s grants.  “Our support is designed to strengthen the environment for economic growth in Central America.” 


The grants reflect the increased demand for commercial efficiency in an era of heightened commercial security.  Through targeted port and airport investments, USTDA is committed to advancing the Central American region’s capacity to take advantage of increased economic activity under CAFTA-DR, while improving the competitiveness and economic sustainability of the region.


This week’s grants include separate awards to expand capacity and increase security at Nicaragua’s Port of Corinto and the Managua International Airport.  In Honduras, a USTDA grant will assist the National Port Authority in the development of a new dry bulk terminal at Port of Cortés. Additional information on each grant is contained in a separate fact sheet.


To date, USTDA has provided over $5 million in support of CAFTA-DR in response to priorities identified by Central American countries in their National Trade Capacity Building Strategies.  USTDA’s CAFTA-DR Trade Integration Initiative aims to further CAFTA-DR implementation by building strong public-private partnerships within Central America and by fostering continued momentum for increased trade and economic development in the region.  The Initiative targets projects in the transportation, energy, and information and communications technology sectors. 


The opportunity to provide technical assistance under the grants awarded this week will be competed on the Federal Business Opportunities website at  Interested U.S. firms should submit proposals according to the instructions contained in the Federal Business Opportunities announcement.  Each grant recipient will select the U.S. firm that will provide the USTDA-funded assistance under its own respective grant.


The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries.  The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, early investment analysis, training, orientation visits and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment.  USTDA’s strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development.  In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.


Additional Information:  Fact Sheet on New USTDA Program Activities in Support of CAFTA-DR Implementation