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USTDA GRANTS ADVANCE DEVELOPMENT PRIORITIES IN ROMANIA

BUCHAREST, ROMANIA (September 24, 2007) – USTDA reaffirmed its commitment to the development of Romania through two separate grants awarded today to achieve priority national objectives in addressing coastal erosion issues and promoting e-learning programs. The grants, totaling $752,613, were awarded to the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MESD) and the Ministry of Education, Research and Youth.

U.S. Ambassador to Romania Nicholas Taubman signed agreements to confer both grants. His Excelleny Cristian Adomnitei, Minister of Education, Research and Youth, and Her Excellency Lucia Ana Varga, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, and signed the agreement associated with their respective grant.

The first grant, in the amount of $385,772, to MESD will assist Romania in complying with the European Union's Water Framework Directive. Specifically, the grant will fund technical assistance with the design of an Integrated Coastal Zone Modeling System (ICZMS) to help monitor and abate erosion along the Black Sea coastline. The Romanian Black Sea coastline has experienced significant erosion for several decades that limits socioeconomic opportunities and has detrimental impacts on public infrastructure and the environment. To address these issues, the Government of Romania has prioritized the development of an ICZMS for the study of potential structural and non-structural coastal erosion control measures.

The $366,841 grant to the Ministry of Education, Research and Youth awarded today will be used to assist the Ministry in upgrading existing information technology networks to meet the competitiveness goals specified in Romania's National Development Plan (2007-2013). The USTDA-funded program will help the Ministry to achieve this goal by establishing an Integrated Network for Education and Technologies (INET). INET will enable users, trainers and administrators at schools, universities, research centers and private firms to access and share resources to improve the overall quality of education. Moreover, INET will help Romania to exploit modern distance, e-learning and training techniques to enhance prospects for competitive job growth for Romanian youth.

The opportunities to provide technical assistance to MESD and the Ministry of Education, Research and Youth under the grants awarded today will be competed separately on the Federal Business Opportunities website at www.fbo.gov. Interested U.S. firms should submit proposals according to the instructions in each Federal Business Opportunities announcement. MESD and the Ministry of Education, Research and Youth will select the U.S. contractors that will provide the technical assistance associated with their respective grants.

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, reverse trade missions 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.

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