Britain agrees record $2.3 bln export finance deal to fund Turkish railway

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British International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan walks outside Downing Street in London, Britain March 8, 2022. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/Files

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LONDON, March 17 (Reuters) - Britain said on Thursday it had agreed its biggest-ever civil infrastructure export finance deal to underwrite a high-speed rail line between the Turkish capital Ankara and the port of Izmir in the west of the country.

Britain hosted the COP26 climate conference last year and its trade ministry said the deal would help Turkey decarbonise its transport sector and meet commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"Turkey is a vital trading partner for the UK.... It is fitting that UK Export Finance's biggest ever civil infrastructure deal is strongly sustainable," International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said in a statement.

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UK Export Finance (UKEF) will guarantee a 2.1 billion euro ($2.3 billion) loan to fund 503 kilometres (313 miles) of high-speed electric railway, the ministry said.

Several contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds were expected to be awarded for British-made railway lines, signalling and electrification systems, Britain said.

Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) and Standard Chartered Bank (STAN.L) are leading the financing of the project.

Turkey's finance minister Nureddin Nebati said the deal would have a green loan structure.

"We are very glad for the cooperation and strong longstanding relations with UK Government and we hope to further strengthen our collaboration," Nebati said in a statement.

($1 = 0.9097 euros)

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Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by David Milliken

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