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Agreements Signed To Jump-Start Economy, Create Jobs

March 9, 1995

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ U.S. and International Monetary Fund officials announced several loan packages for Haiti on Wednesday, but the main motto for the day was ``Jobs, jobs.″

Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott announced that the United States had organized a $65 million line of credit supported by the Overseas Private Investment Corp. through First National Bank of Boston.

In Washington, IMF officials approved the immediate release of a $26 million line of credit under an agreement that holds President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s government to stringent economic reforms.

The IMF approval also ``paves the way to unblock millions in aid,″ said Haitian Prime Minister Smarck Michel.

A Grand Rapids, Mich. firm, H.H. Cutler, renewed shoe contracts in Port-au-Prince with local Haitian companies that would create 1,500 new jobs.

Talbott said the United States would provide nearly $1 million for a Haitian commission to identify critical legal changes to ease business in the Caribbean nation and employment of its work force.

Accompanied by more than 25 U.S. business leaders on a two-day visit, Talbott helped inaugurate the U.S.-Haiti Business Development Council and a U.S. commercial office.

Asked what all the pieces of paper would produce, Talbott, responded: ``Jobs, jobs.″

Employment is an overwhelming need of Haitians who suffered through the U.S.-led embargo against the military coup that ousted Aristide in 1991, nine months after he won Haiti’s first free elections.

The sanctions destroyed the already battered economy, leaving three-quarters of the people underemployed or unemployed. Since Aristide was returned by U.S. troops in October, businesses have been slow to return, waiting for evidence of political stability.

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