Disputed Loan Guarantees Aside, Ex-Im Bank Should Do More

The National Association of Manufacturers has been vocal in calling for the Export-Import Bank to reconsider its 2-1 vote denying loan guarantees for a power generation project in India, a denial that could cost Bucyrus, the Wisconsin-based equipment manufacturer, and its suppliers some $600 million in sales and 1,000 jobs. (See earlier posts.)

This one, misguided decision aside, there are bigger issues affecting the Export-Import Bank that need to be addressed. NAM President John Engler addressed some of them in a new op-ed published at The Hill, “Rejecting U.S. deals and jobs undermine goal of doubling exports“:

Governments of other nations operate similar export-financing programs, but with more substantial government backing and without attaching as many anti-competitive restrictions to projects.

Ex-Im Bank’s financial support for exports reached a record $21 billion last year. But its counterpart north of the border, Export Development Canada, provided $80 billion to support Canadian exports, an even more impressive number when you consider the relative size of the U.S. and Canadian economies.

Japan’s equivalent agency did nearly $140 billion in support last year!

The Export-Import Bank is also is saddled with restraints that its competitors are not — environmental impact studies, economic impact tests, requirements that U.S.-flagged vessels carry the financed cargo, etc. These non-trade objectives are well-meaning but surrender advantages so other countries get their power plants and other equipment but from non-U.S. suppliers using non-U.S. financing.

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