U.S. Chamber Urges Reauthorization of Export-Import Bank

Jun 21, 2011

Last Friday, the U.S. Chamber joined with 15 other associations to send a letter to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus and his fellow committee members urging them to support H.R. 2072, the Securing American Jobs Through Exports Act of 2011, which will reauthorize the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank). It reads in part:

This bill is the result of a bipartisan effort by both the Committee and Subcommittee leadership of the House Financial Services Committee to craft a bill that will help grow and sustain U.S. exports and U.S. jobs, which is the mandate of the Ex-Im Bank. As the Bank’s Charter expires on September 30th, it is imperative that this bill move forward swiftly.

On Wednesday, the Committee will meet to mark up H.R. 2072.

The Ex-Im Bank enables U.S. companies — large and small — to turn export opportunities into real sales that help to maintain and create U.S. jobs and contribute to a stronger national economy. For Fiscal Year 2010, Ex-Im supported an estimated $33 billion in export sales, and 227,000 U.S. jobs at over 3,300 companies.

In today’s era of tight budgets, it is worth remembering that Ex-Im is a self sustaining, independent agency operating at no cost to the taxpayer. In fact, Ex-Im has actually earned (above all cost and loss reserves) $4.5 billion for taxpayers since 1992.

In this context, if the United States is to double exports within five years, it should increase its liability loan cap. The U.S. Chamber supports H.R. 2072 inclusion of an increased lending limit to keep up with future export sales, upgrading and modernizing the information technology (IT) system, and increasing due diligence on defaults.

In addition, Ex-Im Bank is currently saddled with onerous conditions relating to the U.S. content of exports it supports. Mechanistic and simplistic calculations of U.S. content limit the ability of the bank to make more trade finance available. H.R. 2072 will create a process for facilitating a discussion to modernize the Bank’s eligibility requirements. This process will enable all stakeholders to participate and will encourage the Bank to take into account the reality of our innovative economy while continuing its strong support for manufacturing jobs.

As the U.S. economy hopefully gathers strength in the months ahead, Ex-Im Bank will play a leading role as the U.S. works to double exports in five years and create new jobs at home. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce urges Congress to support H.R. 2072 and to secure swift reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

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