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U.S. Bankers to Examine Soviet Credit Options

From Reuters

U.S. banks--following the lead of major European banks--have shown an interest in making short-term loans to the Soviet Union, Yuri Dubinin, Soviet ambassador to the United States, said Wednesday.

Dubinin said that an official from a major U.S. bank will visit the Soviet Union shortly for talks expected to include the granting of trade credits. He gave no further details.

New loans have been seen as a way to bring the Soviet Union closer to the major free-market industrialized countries. But the Reagan Administration has been divided about whether it supports the new loans.

During the past few weeks, the Soviet Union has signed export credit deals worth $1.7 billion with West German banks and $775 million with Italian banks. An agreement with Britain for $1.75 billion in export credits is near completion.

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Interest From U.S. Bankers

In total, Western and Japanese banks are considering loans of $9 billion, higher than all the loans for last year.

Some U.S. lawmakers and members of the Reagan Administration say the new loans could help bolster the Soviet military.

At a news conference called to announce an upcoming Soviet trade exhibition, Dubinin said there had been no detailed talks on the matter, but U.S. bankers had begun to sound out the possibility of making deals with the Soviets.

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“We have basically no specific negotiations, but we have more and more interest from the American bankers . . . to come to the conclusion of such kinds of agreements,” he said.

Dubinin said that although the Soviet Union and the United States had expressed a commitment to expanding trade, there was still a long way to go toward achieving that aim.

James Giffen, president of the U.S.-U.S.S.R. Trade and Economic Council, told the news conference that moves by the Europeans and Japanese to stimulate trade with the Soviet Union should serve as an example to the United States.


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