The contributions the Export Import Bank of the United States (also known as Ex-Im Bank) makes to the U.S. economy are indispensable. American industry relies on the Ex-Im Bank to fill gaps in private export financing at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer. In 2013 the Bank supported $37 billion in U.S. manufacturing exports, returned $1.1 billion dollars to the U.S. Treasury, and helped support 205,000 private sector jobs.
To help offset the risks of foreign financing, the Ex-Im Bank provides businesses with the liquidity and confidence to accept new international contracts and compete more effectively in the global marketplace. The Ex-Im Bank’s traditional financing for export products support businesses both large and small and include export credit insurance, working capital loans, loan guarantees and project finance loans. The Ex-Im Bank also provides “express” export finance products tailored to address short-term financing needs, liquidity and small business security. This confidence booster helps finance manufacturing exports within our industry which include large commercial aircraft, helicopters, general aviation aircraft, commercial satellites, launch services and related goods.
Ex-Im Bank export credit support has helped U.S. companies compete successfully for major foreign sales of U.S. civilian aircraft, launch services and commercial satellites in recent years. The biggest beneficiaries of these sales are small and mid-sized companies that supply major manufacturers with parts, systems and equipment. They benefit both from the initial sale to the original equipment manufacturer and even more so with aftermarket sales for maintenance, repair and overhaul. In the current federal budgetary environment, commercial export opportunities represent critical revenue diversification that many aerospace suppliers will need to survive. If they do not, the implications for America’s technological edge on the battlefield would be ominous.
The Bank helps level the playing field for America’s aerospace manufacturers, who are competing with foreign companies backed by the low interest rates and deep coffers of other nations. These companies are a key part of our national and economic security. Fifty-nine other countries do not hesitate to aggressively use institutions similar to the Ex-Im Bank to compete in the global marketplace, and Ex-Im Bank support is the only way many U.S. aerospace manufacturers have a fair fight.
Congress acted in 2015 to provide the bank with long-term reauthorization. The Ex-Im Bank is scheduled for reauthorization in 2014, but is already facing opposition and we must begin the fight now to ensure its passage next year. Working with member companies and a broad coalition of other associations, including the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, we mounted an aggressive and successful advocacy campaign in support of the Ex-Im Bank.
Unfortunately, our industry’s export support remains at risk until the Bank’s Board of Directors have a quorum to review and approve new transactions. Currently, there are three vacancies on the five member Board and just one needs to be filled to provide for a quorum. President Obama has nominated Republican J. Mark McWatters to fill one of the open seats. It’s time Congress moves swiftly to consider and approve this nomination and ensure the Bank is fully functional, as a supermajority intended.