By Christyn Lansing
October 8, 2019 at 5:00 am ET
Congress is expected to act soon to reauthorize the U.S. Export-Import Bank (EXIM). By facilitating the sale of American products to customers in other countries, EXIM is protecting jobs here at home and earning billions of dollars for taxpayers. Without EXIM, we will all pay.
EXIM is the United States’ Export Credit Agency (ECA) and provides American businesses with the financing needed to sell products and services in emerging markets where commercial banks can’t or won’t offer loans. With this financing, U.S companies are able to design and manufacture products in America before selling them to consumers abroad. The president of the bank, Kimberly Reed, recently testified that EXIM has roughly $40 billion worth of transactions in the pipeline that will support nearly 230,000 U.S. jobs.
EXIM also earns American taxpayers money. By charging user fees on the financing offered, the bank has provided nearly $9.6 billion in returns to the U.S. Treasury since 1992. That’s a strong return on investment for U.S. taxpayers.
So why do some ideologues continue to oppose EXIM? Maybe because they’re paid to oppose it or willfully choose to ignore the facts.
Similar critiques of export financing organizations like EXIM have rattled other countries. But instead of shutting down or limiting their ECA, Australia recently expanded theirs. The Australian government realized that having a flexible export credit agency is critical to their national companies’ ability to win deals in the global marketplace.
We’ve seen American industries struggle to gain market share, as foreign competitors force prices lower and try to push out U.S. companies. Meanwhile, other countries are exponentially expanding financing behind their export credit agencies. For example, China provides at least $130 billion in credit and trade-related financing to bolster its exports — more than 10 times what some other countries offer. Unless the United States continues to provide even minimal support to American industries, we won’t be able to remain competitive in these growing markets abroad.
To even bid on some projects, small businesses have to provide proof of ECA financing availability, like EXIM. So if the United States fails to reauthorize the bank, droves of small businesses won’t even have the opportunity to compete for projects in international markets, let alone win — ceding ground to foreign competitors and undermining American competitiveness.
“American competitiveness” is critically important, but the words may not mean much to the average reader without additional context. An active EXIM Bank has a very real impact on the lives of U.S. small businesses run by real Americans who have been with their company for years — or started them. To help share their stories, we’ve assembled the Coalition for U.S. Jobs, a group of American businesses who partner with EXIM to sell our products around the world.
Our members include Moore Fans, a fan manufacturer based in Missouri that’s been in business since World War II; Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing, Inc., a manufacturer of electronic circuit boards in North Dakota; and Wheeling Truck Center, a full-service Volvo Truck dealer located in Wheeling, W.Va., among others. These businesses provide employment, as well as economic growth for their local communities — due in large part to EXIM helping them grow their customer base.
Fortunately, some elected officials are taking heed. Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have introduced a bipartisan bill, S. 2293, to reauthorize EXIM for 10 years. This long-term reauthorization would provide stability in a volatile market and ensure the next generation of Americans can continue to expand their sales into markets abroad. Congress must act to reauthorize EXIM and provide America with all of the tools we have to remain a formidable player in the global marketplace.
EXIM makes money for taxpayers, strengthens our competitiveness against foreign business competitors and supports millions of American jobs. It’s time to put aside empty ideological rhetoric and focus on putting America first with a reauthorized EXIM bank.
Christyn Lansing is the spokesperson for the Coalition for U.S. Jobs.
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