In the context of European Union's co-operation policy with third countries, the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's long-term financing institution, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam concluded the Framework Agreement under which the Bank may start financing capital investment in Vietnam.

The EIB finances capital investment in countries which have co-operation agreements with the European Union. In Asia the Bank has so far concluded framework agreements with China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines and Thailand.

Following an invitation from the European Council of Ministers, the EIB's Board of Governors authorised lending up to ECU 750 million, over a period of three years (1993-1996), for projects of mutual interest located in Asian and Latin American countries (ALA). On February 1997 EIB's Board of Governors approved a new lending facility for projects in ALA countries of ECU 275 million to be used by the end of June 1997. Additionally, a new lending facility of ECU 900 million for projects in ALA countries to be financed during 1997-1999 was approved by the Board of Governors on June 1997.

Under these authorisations the EIB has already provided ECU 440 million for projects in Asia: for electricity development in India (ECU 55 million), Pakistan (ECU 81 million) and the Philippines (ECU 72 million), for natural gas transport in Indonesia (ECU 46 million) and Thailand (ECU 58 million), for the development of an offshore oil and natural gas field in China (ECU 55 million), and for airport infrastructure (ECU 50 million) and a cement factory (ECU 23 million) in the Philippines.

The EIB was set up in 1958 under the Treaty of Rome to provide loan finance for capital investment furthering European Union policy objectives, in particular regional development, Trans-European Networks of transport, telecommunications and energy, international competitiveness of industry and its regional integration and secure energy supplies. Outside the Union, the EIB contributes to European development co-operation policy in accordance with the terms and conditions laid down in the various agreements linking the Union to some 130 countries in Central and Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean region, Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, Asia and Latin America.

The conversion rates used by the EIB for statistical purposes during the current quarter are those obtaining on 30 September 1997, when ECU 1 = GBP 0.69, IEP 0.76, USD 1.113.