Stating the Case for the Export-Import Bank

By February 20, 2012Trade

On Friday President Obama spoke at the Boeing Company’s facility in Everett, WA and called on Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank of the United States. The President also rolled out several new initiatives to help companies grow exports.

The Ex-Im Bank plays an important role in our country’s ability to export. Thousands of small businesses all over the country benefit from the Bank, last year the Bank supported $41 billion in exports from 3600 companies, which supports tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs.

If Congress fails to reauthorize the Bank our competition will simply pass us by. We already trail many of our competitors by a large margin. Germany, France and India all provided at least seven times more export assistance as a share of GDP than the U.S. in 2010. If we don’t reauthorize Ex-Im and increase the current lending limit we simply won’t reach the goal of doubling exports by 2014 and jobs will be hurt.

It’s just not President Obama calling for the Banks reauthorization, in the past week a few conservative commentators have called for the Banks’s reauthorization.

Just today conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt wrote a column for on the titled “Right Should Support Export-Import Bank” stating that the Bank should be reauthorized as an enterprise the federal government ought to be doing and does well:

For nearly 80 years, Ex-Im has been contributing to that originalist policy, and it would be a terrible triumph of an absolutist ideological tilt to strike even partially at one of the things the federal government not only ought to be doing, but which it has been doing and doing well under both Republicans and Democrats.

Hewitt continues on the success of Ex-Im:

Ex-Im is a success, one which conservatives can support proudly and from which they can draw lessons on the right functioning of the federal power with which to argue against the abuses and distortions of that power.

And last week on George Landrith, president of Frontiers of Freedom, in a post titled “A Conservative’s take on the Ex-Im Bank” he talks about the benefits of the Bank and how doesn’t cost the taxpayers a dime:

The Ex-Im Bank does not compete with private financial institutions, but rather fills-in banking gaps so that U.S. goods can be exported to nations where commercial financing is insufficient. The Ex-Im Bank doesn’t cost taxpayers a dime. Rather, it makes money from the fees charged to foreign buyers which get pumped back into the U.S. Treasury and helps reduce the deficit. 

The Ex-Im Bank has a 75 year track-record and the Congressional Budget Office projects in the coming years, the Ex-Im Bank will pump $900 million into the U.S. Treasury – not to mention the hundreds of billions of dollars of U.S. made goods that will be exported and the hundreds of thousands of American jobs that will be supported. In 2011 alone, the bank facilitated sales abroad that supported 290,000 American jobs.

Landrith refutes the argument from critics that the Ex-Im Bank is government interference in the private sector or picking winners and losers

Virtually every other nation offers export loan assistance. In fact, China and many other nations actually offer aggressive, below market loans to induce foreign buyers to purchase their goods. When the U.S. competes on quality and price, it wins the competition. That is precisely why nations like China intervene and offer cut rate financing with very generous terms so that they can undercut U.S. firms. Europe does this as well.

As a conservative, I would like to see free markets expanded. We should enter into more free market reform agreements with our trading partners. We should reform our tax code and our regulatory regime to ensure we are competitive.

But nixing the Ex-Im Bank now without international financing reform agreements does nothing to promote free markets. It merely undermines U.S. manufacturing, kills high-paying American jobs, and erodes our ability to compete in a worldwide marketplace

We urge Congress to reauthorize the Bank and increase its lending limit as soon as possible, without the Bank we will be left behind by our competition and manufacturers across the country will suffer the consequences.

We urge Congress to reauthorize the Bank and increase its lending limit as soon as possible, without the Bank we will be left behind by our competition and manufacturers across the country will suffer the consequences.

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