Mon, Oct 23, 2006 - Page 12 News List

EBRD set to open first Asian affiliate in Taipei

CNA , LONDON, WITH STAFF WRITER

The European Bank for Recon-struction and Development (EBRD) is scheduled to open an office in Taipei tomorrow as the regional banking institution's first affiliate in Asia.

EBRD first vice president Varel Freeman, who will travel to Taiwan to officiate at a ceremony marking the office's inauguration, said the EBRD is opening the office in the hopes that Taiwan -- with its rich and successful experience in the development of small-and medium-size enterprises -- will reach out to help countries in central and eastern Europe.

Freeman, a citizen of the US who became an EBRD first vice president last August, and oversees all banking operations of the EBRD, is expected to be accompanied by several senior EBRD officials and specialists in attending the inauguration ceremony to be held at the new office, located at the Taipei World Trade Center.

On the sidelines of the opening ceremony will be a seminar on "EBRD Opportunities and Risks" to be held at the Grand Hyatt Taipei and another ceremony marking a contract signing on a risk sharing fund to be co-established by the EBRD and the International Cooperation and Development Fund operated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Freeman chairs the EBRD Operations Committee, which reviews all investment and loan proposals before consideration by the board of directors, and oversees the formulation of the bank's strategy to effectively and efficiently promote the transition of the 27 countries where the EBRD invests. Freeman is also a member of the EBRD Executive Committee, which is chaired by the bank's president, and acts in his absence.

During his two-day stay here, Freeman is scheduled to visit the ministries of foreign affairs and economic affairs. He is also due to meet executives of the nation's major financial and banking institutions and companies which are interested in investing or relocating business operations to Russia, Eastern or Central Europe

EBRD Vice President Fabrizio Saccomanni visited Taipei in November last year to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Foreign Ministry to pave the way for the opening of an EBRD office in Taipei.

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