Fully Functioning Ex-Im Bank Tops the List of Priority Trade Issues

For manufacturers in the United States, trade is a priority issue. Ninety-five percent of the world’s population lives outside the United States, and it is essential that America’s manufacturers have the necessary trading tools in place to reach these foreign customers.

To address the importance of trade to American manufacturers’ competitiveness, the NAM hosted a Shopfloor event on Capitol Hill on April 15 with featured speaker leading manufacturing CEOs and policy experts as well as Rep. Dave Reichert, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Trade at the House Ways and Means Committee. One of the top issues discussed by the panelists was the importance of a fully functioning Export-Import Bank and the need for the Senate to move forward on the pending Ex-Im Board of Director nominee.

Though the Ex-Im Bank was reauthorized in December, it cannot operate at full capacity until its Board achieves a quorum. Currently, there are three vacant seats on the Ex-Im Bank’s Board of Directors. Specifically, the Ex-Im Bank cannot implement several necessary risk management provisions or approve medium- or long-term loans and loan guarantees over $10 million. Panelists explained that the Ex-Im Bank is a critical trading tool that gives manufacturers in the United States the opportunity to compete in the global marketplace, and now is the worst possible time to limit the Bank’s functionality. Right now, our global competitors are supporting their exporters with aggressive export credit financing at a rate of 20 to 1 compared to the United States, according a study by the NAM.

The Senate’s failure to move on the pending nomination – necessary to achieve a quorum a the Board of Directors – not only harms the large manufacturers that will lose projects to foreign competitors with better access to financing but threatens jobs at every small and medium-sized company in their supply chains. Furthermore, only a fully functional Bank can protect the delicate ecosystem of small, medium and large transactions that protect taxpayers by generating fees and mitigating risks.

Panelists reiterated Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew’s recent calls for the Senate to move on the pending nomination to fill at least one of the open seats. In order for the Ex-Im Bank to fulfill its mission of supporting U.S. job growth through exports, panelists agreed that manufacturers need Congress to act fast.

Expert panel participants included Daniel R. Dwight, President & CEO, Cooley/Group, Roy Paulson, President, Paulson Manufacturing Corporation, Ann-Marie Padgett, International Advocacy Supervisor, Caterpillar Inc., Amy DeArmond, Government Policy & Legal Affairs Specialist, Leggett & Platt, Inc. and Linda Dempsey, Vice President, International Economic Affairs, NAM (moderator).