Sunday, April 22 , 2018, 10:30 am | Fair 64º


Tom Donohue: Four Things Ex-Im Bank Opponents Don’t Want You to Know

If you look at the facts about America’s Export-Import Bank, there’s no compelling case against it. Perhaps that’s why opponents of renewing the bank’s charter — which will expire on June 30 without congressional action — are going out of their way to avoid the truth. Instead, they are promoting a false and cynical narrative that threatens the 164,000 U.S. workers and $27.5 billion in exports that the bank supports.

Here are four things these opponents don’t want you to know about the Ex-Im Bank:

» It helps small businesses. Nearly 90 percent of Ex-Im’s transactions support exports by small and midsize companies. Loans and loan guarantees by the bank enable these companies to reach foreign markets and customers. Many small businesses, like Maryland-based Patton Electronics, do the majority of their business overseas and rely on the continued availability of Ex-Im financing to stay operational and keep their workers on the job.

» It fills a need in the market. Shutting down the Ex-Im Bank would eliminate critical financing options for many small businesses. Commercial banks generally won’t accept foreign receivables as collateral for small-business loans. Without the bank, companies like Patton would have nowhere else to turn. Bobby Patton, the company’s president and CEO, said that Patton would shrink by 70 percent if Ex-Im is not reauthorized. Thousands of other small businesses would be similarly affected, which is why they’ve flocked to Washington in droves to urge their lawmakers to act by June 30.

» It costs the taxpayer nothing. Far from being a subsidy for corporations, Ex-Im charges fees for its services. This has allowed the bank to send to the Treasury $7 billion more than it received in appropriations for program and administrative costs since 1990. However, the real return on investment comes in job creation and export growth. And because Ex-Im financing is backed by the collateral of goods being exported, it exposes U.S. taxpayers to very little risk, boasting a default rate lower than commercial banks.

» It helps the United States maintain its competitive edge in the global economy. Without the bank, American companies would be shut out of huge business opportunities overseas because support from an official export credit agency such as Ex-Im is required for a company even to bid on nearly all overseas infrastructure projects. The export credit agencies of our top trading partners provided about 18 times more export credit assistance to their exporters than Ex-Im did for U.S. exporters last year. Closing the bank would unilaterally disarm the United States in global markets, resulting immediately in lost U.S. jobs.

The facts are on the side of reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank. Lawmakers must do the right thing and renew the bank by June 30.

— Tom Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The opinions expressed are his own.

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