- Advocacy & Policy
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President Obama has set the ambitious goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015. The U.S. aerospace and defense industry, which last year had impressive net exports of $99 billion, is more than up to this challenge. I believe with the government’s assistance and through the hard work of our member companies we will help get the U.S. over this goal line.
To this end, AIA is working on a number of fronts to promote aerospace and defense export growth across all of our business segments—defense, civil aviation and space—and ranging from our larger companies that have a worldwide presence, to our smaller and midsized companies that may be newcomers to international markets. On April 29, AIA along with the National Defense Industrial Association and Professional Services Council hosted Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and his leadership team. During this meeting there was a robust discussion of the need for strong government-industry cooperation to promote foreign military sales. We were encouraged by the results of that meeting, and by Deputy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s affirmation of the administration’s support for expanding defense exports in remarks given to our Board of Governor’s meeting in Williamsburg, Va. last month.
AIA has also made it a priority to support reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States’ authority to provide loan guarantees and other assistance in support of companies’ foreign sales activities. America’s aerospace industry relies on the Bank to fill gaps in private export financing for commercial sales at no cost to the taxpayers. And contrary to the Bank’s detractors, most of the companies the Bank supports—87 percent—are small businesses. We’re pleased that after months of delay, it looks like the Senate will move forward to vote on the re-nomination of Fred Hochberg for a second four-year term as President and Chairman of the Bank. And we intend to strongly advocate in 2014 for Congressional reauthorization of the Bank’s operations.
Of course our industry also depends upon international trade shows to promote our products and services. The Paris Air Show, the world’s oldest and largest, will have its 50th edition from June 17th to 23rd at Le Bourget Airport. While other air shows have sprung up and grown in importance, Paris remains a key venue for the American aerospace and defense industry to pursue export growth opportunities. At this year’s show, AIA will do its part to build energy and enthusiasm among our foreign economic and security partners for American-made aerospace and defense products.
At Paris, we are taking the initiative to showcase the industry’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and their many potential uses and applications. On display in the AIA “Corral” will be UAS such as Aurora Flight Sciences’ Skate, Boeing’s ScanEagle, General Atomics’ MQ-9 Reaper and Textron’s Aerosonde.
Ribbon cutting ceremony at the 2013 Paris International Air Show. (left to right) Kallman Worldwide Inc. President and CEO Tom Kallman; AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey; United States Ambassador to France Charles H. Rivkin.
AIA is also planning a busy slate of activities for the show, including AIA’s premier President’s Representative Reception with visiting Governors, United States Senators and foreign delegations, another reception hosted by U.S. Ambassador Charles Rivkin, and meetings with our counterparts from the Society of Japanese Aerospace Companies and the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations.
Through our work to promote foreign military sales, the continued operations of the Export-Import Bank of the United States and our efforts to enhance the value of international air shows, we’re confident that the tide of aerospace and defense exports will keep rising.