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Small Businesses Shine At Ex-Im Annual Conference

As Congress debates whether to reauthorize the U.S. Export-Import Bank, small businesses are telling the story of how they’ve utilized Ex-Im Bank to grow exports and add jobs. Some of these small businesses earned a lot of applause today, as the Ex-Im Bank Annual Conference kicks off in Washington, DC.

Among the companies celebrated were fire truck maker W.S. Darley & Co., cheesecake company Love & Quiches Gourmet, and Texas-based Fritz-Pak Corp. These companies have tapped Ex-Im Bank financing to sell their products abroad. (continue reading…)

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Ex-Im Bank Fuels Alabama Exporters

Earlier today in Hope Hull, Ala., National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons Jay VT Miltopetoured the shopfloor at VT Miltope, a leading U.S. manufacturer of computers and computer peripheral equipment for military, industrial and commercial tactical and aviation applications.

Joined by VT Miltope Executive Vice President Brigadier- General Edward F. Crowell (USAF Retired) and Business Council of Alabama President and CEO Billy Canary, Timmons continued to emphasize the importance of securing a long-term reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank in Congress on one of the final legs of the State of Manufacturing tour.

“Suppliers like VT Miltope are the backbone of our nation’s manufacturing economy. A long-term reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank is a necessary step that this Congress needs to take action on immediately to support job-creators. The debate over the future of the Ex-Im Bank boils down to whether we want manufacturers in the United States to win overseas, or whether we want our foreign competitors and their workers to swoop in and seize these opportunities,” Timmons said. (continue reading…)

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President’s Export Council Aligns with Manufacturers’ Priorities

The President’s Export Council (PEC) met yesterday at the White House to discuss U.S. policies and programs that promote export expansion. In advance of the meeting, the NAM submitted comments to highlight priority trade issues for manufacturers – including Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), ongoing negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), trade facilitation initiatives, WTO negotiations, export control reform and Ex-Im Bank reauthorization. (continue reading…)

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U.S.-India Deal Provides Breakthrough on WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

The United States and India announced today an agreement that paves the way for implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to implement the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), the first multilateral trade agreement to be concluded in the history of the WTO. Progress on the TFA was halted in July, when a small group of countries – led by India – blocked consensus on implementing the TFA and raised concerns about the status of the WTO’s work on food security issues. The new compromise included no major revision of the original WTO deal struck last December, which provided for India’s food stockpiling to be shielded from legal challenge by a “peace clause.” The compromise clarified, though, that the legal shield would remain until a permanent solution was found. (continue reading…)

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NAM Urged President to Address Trade Facilitation with Indian Prime Minister

Last week, NAM President & CEO Jay Timmons was joined by several other trade association leaders in calling on President Obama to prioritize in his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi the importance of India playing a positive role in the global economy, including by addressing concerns about India’s ongoing blockage of a global agreement on trade facilitation. The World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement, agreed to last year in Bali, would simplify customs procedures and facilitate the movement of goods across borders and is estimated to provide a more than $1 trillion stimulus to the world economy once implemented.

In the weeks leading up to a key July 31 deadline, India blocked implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. The agreement set a July 31 deadline for the WTO’s General Council to accept notifications of Category A commitments, adopt the Protocol of Amendment, and open the Protocol for acceptance. Hours before the final deadline, the WTO announced it had not been able to find a solution to the impasse.

In remarks yesterday to the Global Services Summit, WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo said the WTO “is facing a challenge the gravity of which is hard to overstate.” Azevedo said he remained hopeful that WTO members could resolve the differences blocking implementation of the TFA and move on to completing a work program to finish the long-running Doha Round of trade talks, which began in 2001. The umbrella Trade Negotiations Committee is scheduled to meet on October 6.

Earlier this week, The WTO’s Preparatory Committee on Trade Facilitation met to review 32 new notifications from developing countries received since the last meeting informing the WTO of their Category A commitments, demonstrating the strong interest globally in implementing this agreement. Category A commitments are those commitments countries promise to implement immediately when the TFA enters into force.

The NAM remains committed to the objectives outlined in the TFA, and NAM leaders have been vocal about manufacturers’ concerns over India’s recent actions. In a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed on August 11, Timmons wrote that India’s “high-stakes gamble risks hurting economic growth worldwide while calling into question India’s respect for its international commitments. In an Op-Ed for The Hill, NAM Vice President Linda Dempsey noted that India’s recent actions “create new skepticism about whether the Modi government is fully committed to the type of reforms that are critical for India’s own growth and its international competitiveness.”

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Exporters for Ex-Im: There’s More Than Meets the Eye with Large Corporate Ex-Im Bank Users

Behind every large corporate user of the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank—a guarantor of affordable export financing—are hundreds, even thousands, of small business suppliers whose futures are inextricably connected to the bank’s fate.

Click Bond, Inc., in Carson City, Nevada, is a case in point. The company is a developer and manufacturer of fastening hardware and adhesive bonding processes for the aerospace, surface transportation, maritime, and offshore energy markets. Click Bond is the classic “invisible exporter,” a company that supplies parts to large U.S.-based manufacturers, which in turn export a majority of their products with the help of Ex-Im’s financing backing.

The aerospace industry is Click Bond’s oldest and biggest market—the company’s fasteners can be found on the 787 Dreamliner, F-35 Lightning II fighter jet, and even NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover. Its largest strategic civil aviation customer is Boeing, which depends on Ex-Im to back competitive loans proffered to foreign purchasers of its airplanes.

Boeing is a frequent target of anti-corporate rhetoric from critics who would like to see the bank’s charter expire, but Click Bond Director of Strategic Partnerships Paul McNeill says those critics fail to recognize Ex-Im’s downstream impact on small and mid-size manufacturers that do not contract directly with Ex-Im Bank.

“A significant majority of components found on Boeing aircraft are manufactured by other companies—companies in Boeing’s supply chain,” McNeill says. “When someone sees a Boeing airplane in the sky, that’s not just the work of Boeing. It represents the contributions of thousands of small businesses.”

Without Ex-Im, Boeing would be at a disadvantage to its European rival Airbus, and its suppliers’ competitiveness would also suffer, according to McNeill. “When Boeing thrives, its U.S. suppliers become more competitive by investing in innovation and in processes that improve performance and lower costs. We can’t do that if Boeing isn’t selling airplanes. Boeing is an enormous economic engine that fuels competitiveness at multiple levels in the U.S. manufacturing base.”

Click Bond says that Ex-Im’s closure would jeopardize the jobs of its 400-plus employees, 80 percent of whom directly or indirectly support Boeing’s commercial airplane exports. “It would be a significant blow to our competitiveness,” McNeill states.

“Exporters for Ex-Im” is a blog series focused on the importance of the Export-Import Bank to manufacturers. To learn more or to tell Congress you support reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, visit

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Exporters for Ex-Im: For This Small Manufacturer, Ex-Im Bank Holds the Keys to a $15 million Project

Jason Speer spent months developing a business deal that was shaping up nicely.

Speer is the president of Quality Float Works, Inc., a manufacturer of metal float balls, valves and assemblies that level liquid controls for a variety of industrial applications. He had reached an agreement with a residential real estate developer in Saudi Arabia to supply shut-off switches for water tanks installed in the new homes of a development outside of Riyadh.

Speer had traveled from Schaumburg, Ill., about 25 miles northwest of Chicago, to Saudi Arabia three times to negotiate the multi-phase deal. He is awaiting a letter of credit from the Saudi real estate developer’s bank to his bank with an accompanying purchase order.

Right now, one obstacle stands in the way. Speer needs a working capital guarantee from the U.S. Export-Import Bank to finance the raw materials required to manufacture the switches. With Ex-Im Bank’s lending authorization set to expire on September 30 if Congress fails to extend its charter, the contract with his Saudi client hangs in the balance.

“Private lenders won’t touch (loans) for the type of materials we need, and it’s very hard for small and medium size businesses to raise capital upfront,” Speer said. “During our planning, never once did we think the Bank would lose its authorization. We might be forced to scramble to try to find other options, without which we won’t be able to fulfill this order.”

If the deal collapses, Quality Float Works stands to lose $15 million in revenue and will hold off hiring the six new employees needed to service the Saudi contract, Speer said. Ex-Im’s predicament is troubling for a small business increasingly dependent on exports. While exports accounted for just 3% of Quality Float Works’ sales in 2001, today they make up 35% of the firm’s sales, with customers in nearly three dozen countries. The number of employees at the company has doubled to 24 in that time.

The pending deal with the Saudi developer is the first instance in which Quality Float Works has applied for an Ex-Im loan guarantee, and it hopes it won’t be the last. Speer, a committed small business advocate who has testified before Congress in support of free trade agreements, says his message to members of Congress is simple: “The Ex-Im Bank can make or break the ability of small and medium size businesses to export, and, by extension, their ability to create jobs and grow the economy.”

“Exporters for Ex-Im” is a blog series focused on the importance of the Export-Import Bank to manufacturers. To learn more or to tell Congress you support reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, visit

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Exporters for Ex-Im: Bank A “Valuable Tool” For Commercial Cleaning System Exporter

Bob Toews, vice president of Kaivac Inc., says his company is defined by its entrepreneurial spirit. That resourcefulness helped them design a no-touch commercial cleaning system that can clean floors 30 times better than a mop – in a fraction of the time.

Their patented cleaning system has appeal across the globe. It’s used in London Heathrow and Amsterdam Airports, to name a few, as well as the iconic Louvre Museum in Paris. But as is the case for many businesses looking to tap into global demand, Kaivac found the Export-Import Bank to be a valuable asset in making those deals possible.

Kaivac is based in Hamilton, Ohio, and has 50 employees. When the company started to explore potential new markets, Toews said the company networked through friends and family to reach new customers. Their success, however, was limited by the fact that they needed required cash in advance for overseas sales.

The company needed to offer credit terms to grow, but the availability of private sector credit insurance did not, according to Toews, “reach down to their level.” In 2010, Toews started using Ex-Im Bank credit insurance and got five international customers qualified.

“Offering foreigners credit terms was a big benefit. It ratcheted up their interest and ability to buy,” he said

The result has been a significant uptick in overseas sales. Toews said that last year, the company doubled their export sales – about half of which were supported by Ex-Im credit insurance. In fact, the company has just hired another person solely dedicated to selling the cleaning systems internationally.

Toews says Ex-Im is so valuable because it is “a great tool to reach markets that are hard to reach without it.” He is disappointed about the current fight in Congress for reauthorization but is confident the benefits of Ex-Im will shine through.

“At the end of the day,” Toews noted, “what other programs really help small businesses?”

“Exporters for Ex-Im” is a blog series focused on the importance of the Export-Import Bank to manufacturers. To learn more or to tell Congress you support reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, visit

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Exporters for Ex-Im: ​Brownies, Cakes, And Ex-Im Bank Collide

If you’ve eaten cheesecake, chocolate cake or brownies at a major chain restaurant, there’s a good chance it was made by Love and Quiches Gourmet in Freeport, N.Y.

Susan Axelrod, the company’s chairwoman and founder, started the company in her home kitchen in 1973 and knocked on thousands of doors to get people interested in her quiche and desserts. The company grew from there and now has several hundred employees who help the company sell pastries and a variety of cakes all over the world.

That success, Ms. Axelrod said, is partly attributable to the U.S. Export-Import Bank, a small government agency that could be shut down if Congress doesn’t act by the end of September. Love and Quiches started using the Ex-Im Bank almost 20 years ago and, like thousands of small business around the country, found it crucial to its success.

Love and Quiches relies on the Bank’s credit insurance program. The Bank charges the company a fee for insurance in case a foreign customer fails to pay for the desserts the company ships abroad.

But in the nearly two decades since Ms. Axelrod starting using the Bank, her company hasn’t had to file a claim with the Ex-Im Bank. “We’re very careful who we do business with. We’ve never had a claim – never,” she said.

The Ex-Im Bank named Love and Quiches its 2014 Small Business Exporter of the Year, an award that Ms. Axelrod is proud to discuss.

She said the company doesn’t want the Ex-Im Bank to go away. That, she said, would make it “harder for us to compete with all the other bakery companies in the world that get more support from their government.”

She said other small businesses don’t have the same flexibility as her company and, without Ex-Im Bank, they “would have to walk away from their export business.”

“Exporters for Ex-Im” is a blog series focused on the importance of the Export-Import Bank to manufacturers. To learn more or to tell Congress you support reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, visit

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Exporters for Ex-Im: Small Business Owner Expands Construction-Equipment Business With Ex-Im Bank

Barry Stoughton developed on his own a product that revolutionized the construction equipment business, but needed the help of the Export-Import Bank of the United States to sell that revolutionary product overseas.

Mr. Stoughton, a former high school math teacher, started Bensenville, Ill.-based BLS Enterprises out of a garage in 1986. The company makes track pads made with polyurethane retreading for construction equipment. Prior to him, companies used rubber, which was less durable.

Most of the 12-employee company’s sales are domestic, but about 14 years ago Mr. Stoughton realized there was an international hunger for his company’s TUFPADS track pads.

We “are always looking for new customers around the world,” he said.

So he turned to the Ex-Im Bank and started with small orders to Taiwan, requiring cash-in-advance payments. But as the company’s orders grew, they needed more flexible financing options – and the Ex-Im Bank stepped in to help.

The Bank provides the company – for a charge, of course – with credit insurance in case their foreign buyers fail to pay.

Because of the Ex-Im Bank, the company has been able to take advantage of opportunities to expand sales to Malaysia, Australia and other countries.

He fears what will happen if Congress doesn’t reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank by September 30, but he’s confident they will support the Bank if they understand what it does.

He said “when people see that small companies are trying to expand and sell American products abroad using Ex-Im, they will support it.”

“Exporters for Ex-Im” is a blog series focused on the importance of the Export-Import Bank to manufacturers. To learn more or to tell Congress you support reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, visit

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