Treasury Secretary Tours Baltimore Business, Sees First-Hand The Benefits Of Ex-Im Bank

By the Exporters for Ex-Im Coalition


U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew went to Baltimore earlier this week to promote the Obama administration’s interest in revamping the nation’s infrastructure. He also got a window into the important—and often overlooked—role that the Export-Import Bank plays in the U.S. economy.

Mr. Lew toured a manufacturing facility run by Ellicott Dredges, a 250-person company that played a leading role in the original construction of the Panama Canal. Ellicott Dredges storied history was made possible for a host of reasons, but its present stability and future growth owe a lot to the Ex-Im Bank.

Just ask the company’s president, Peter Bowe, who spoke with the Exporters for Ex-Im Coalition.

Mr. Bowe said the company sells dredging equipment—hulking and powerful—to more than 100 countries. Foreign sales represent about half of the company’s revenues, meaning if the company can’t export, they’ll lose business.

He said the company has been using the Ex-Im Bank since the 1950s. But now that some want the Ex-Im Bank closed, Mr. Bowe is concerned about what will happen to his company and his employees. If the Ex-Im Bank isn’t reauthorized by June 30th, it will close.

Uncertainty about the Bank’s future is already causing pain, Mr. Bowe said.

“The uncertainty that Congress has created is not helpful to companies like ours dealing with foreign customers who are aware of this uncertainty,” said Mr. Bowe. A number of Ellicott’s foreign competitors in countries such as China and the Netherlands receive generous export credit assistance from their government agencies, and customers may turn to these competitors if Ex-Im financing is no longer available.