While most recent attention toward the Export-Import Bank has been on its wrong-headed decision to reject loan guarantees for an Indian power project — threatening $600 million in U.S. equipment sales — another mishandled project demonstrates institutional problems the Ex-Im Bank must address. From NAM President John Engler’s column in The Hill, “Rejection of U.S. deals and jobs undermines goal of doubling exports“:
The other troubling case involves a potential $2 billion sale of commercial satellite equipment and services by Lockheed-Martin to the Iridium Corporation. Held back by excessive rules and restrictions, Ex-Im could not make its decision in time — even though expedited financing was the competitive factor in determining who would win the bid, Lockheed or Thales, a French company.
Given the same time limitations, the French export credit agency, COFACE, committed to finance the deal and Thales was awarded the contract. The French decided that they wanted their company to get the sale; the same cannot be said about the United States.
This represents a major missed opportunity for the United States. The deal would have supported an estimated 2,000 highly paid, skilled U.S.-based engineering, design and manufacturing jobs. It would have increased U.S. exports by $2 billion, much of that from U.S. small and mid-sized companies in Lockheed’s supply chain. A successful U.S. bid would have also supported our domestic satellite advanced technology base — once first in the world but now trailing the European Union’s.
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