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Lauren Wilk

Timmons: Scott Garrett at the Ex-Im Bank Is a Bad Deal for America’s Manufacturers

By | General, Shopfloor Main, Trade | No Comments

The U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank has operated for decades with a mission to support U.S. jobs through exports. Back in April, President Donald Trump confirmed his support for the export credit agency. In 2015, a bipartisan supermajority in Congress voted to reauthorize the agency through 2019. Who would want to stand in opposition to this small federal agency with an outsized, tangible benefit for the U.S. economy? Unfortunately, a former congressman who has been nominated to lead the agency is just that person. Former Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), the nominee to lead the Ex-Im Bank, has been a vocal and dogged opponent of the Ex-Im Bank.

National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons, in an op-ed published today in The Wall Street Journal, outlined the negative impact for manufacturers if the Senate moves to confirm Garrett as the leader of the Ex-Im Bank.

As a congressman, Garrett built a record of votes and statements that sought to dismantle the Ex-Im Bank. He voted to close the agency at every opportunity and voted against a reauthorization bill in October 2015 that passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support. Before the vote, he took to the House floor to mischaracterize the agency as a “fund for corporate welfare” and urge his colleagues to “keep the Export-Import Bank out of business.”

When he voted against the agency’s reauthorization again later in 2015, he issued a statement explaining that he opposed the bill because it would “resurrect the most shameless example of crony capitalism Washington has ever concocted—the Export-Import Bank.” Prior to the 2015 reauthorization, Garrett voted against the Ex-Im Bank reauthorization in 2012 that was strongly approved by both the House and Senate. Garrett’s opposition to the Ex-Im Bank has been consistent, vocal and aimed at undermining the agency’s credibility.


Ex-Im Bank Benefits U.S. Manufacturers, Workers and Taxpayers

  • American Workers and Their Families Benefit from the Ex-Im Bank: U.S. export sales supported by the Ex-Im Bank have directly supported 1.4 million jobs over the past seven years.
  • Small Businesses: In fiscal 2016, about 90 percent of Ex-Im’s transactions—more than 2,600 deals—directly supported small businesses. Tens of thousands of small business suppliers benefit from partnerships with large exporters that also utilize the Ex-Im Bank.
  • Taxpayers: The Ex-Im Bank has generated $7 billion for taxpayers in the past 20 years, mostly through fees collected from foreign customers. The agency is self-sustaining and covers its own operating costs. Eliminating the Ex-Im Bank would actually increase the U.S. deficit. The agency transferred $284 million in deficit-reducing receipts to the U.S. Treasury for fiscal 2016.

 

Garrett’s past statements are evidence of a fundamental misunderstanding of the Ex-Im Bank’s ability to level the playing field globally. In a competitive global landscape, the Ex-Im Bank is a much-needed counterweight to substantial foreign export financing. The agency recently reported that China continues to be the world’s largest provider of official export credit, providing more trade-related investment support than the rest of the world combined. Together, the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) provided a combined total of more than $51 billion in medium- and long-term export credit in 2016—nearly half of the total official export credit provided worldwide. Last year, without a quorum for its board of directors, the Ex-Im Bank was able to authorize just $5 billion. While the agency’s board of directors has lacked the necessary quorum to approve certain deals, an estimated 40 deals worth more than $30 billion are stuck in the pipeline.

The Ex-Im Bank plays a targeted and critical role in securing and creating more American jobs. That is why the Ex-Im Bank needs a leader who will ensure the agency is able to function at its full potential and promote U.S. exports in the face of substantial competition from manufacturers overseas supported by very active export credit agencies. Manufacturers are losing out on opportunities every day that the vacancies on the Ex-Im Bank board of directors are left unfilled, but Garrett, who said “Congress should put the Export-Import Bank out of business” just two years ago, is simply not a credible leader for this agency.

President Trump Answers the Call from Manufacturers, Confirms Support for Ex-Im Bank

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

As exporters and lenders converged in Washington for the annual Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank conference last week, they heard a clear message from National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons.

“At a time when manufacturing has captured the imagination of our leaders and the American people, I know our policymakers are eager to implement a strategy that will make our companies as competitive as possible in every market. I see the Ex-Im Bank as a vital component of that strategy.” – NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons (April 6, 2017)

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Manufacturers Celebrate Trade Facilitation Agreement Milestone

By | Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Today marks a milestone for the World Trade Organization (WTO), as the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA)the first multilateral WTO agreement since 1995enters into force. The agreement represents a real win for manufacturers and workers throughout the United States, since they will increasingly be able to expand sales to foreign markets as other countries reduce red tape and slash barriers at their ports. The United States ratified the TFA in 2014 without the need for any changes to our system.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) fought hard for this agreement as it was being negotiated and continued to push countries to simplify customs procedures that often represent a costly and significant barrier to foreign sales, particularly for small manufacturers. Since the agreement was concluded in December 2013, the NAM has worked vigorously to ensure ratification by the necessary 110 members so that the work of reforming and improving foreign border entry for U.S.-manufactured goods can truly get started.

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According to a 2015 study, full implementation of the TFA will cut trade costs by an average of 14.3 percent. The TFA will reduce the time to import goods by more than a day and a halfa reduction of 47 percent of the current averageand reduce the time to export by almost two daysa reduction of 91 percent. Overall, the TFA also has the potential to increase global merchandise exports by nearly $1 trillion. For manufacturers in the United States, the expansion of exports is important to drive growth in manufacturing output and jobs here at home.

Last summer, more than 30 business associations joined the NAM in urging countries to ratify the TFA. Letters were sent to each of the countries that had not yet ratified the TFA at that point, and examples of those letters can be found here for FTA partners and here for non-FTA partners. Now that two-thirds of WTO members have completed their domestic ratification process, WTO members are obligated to implement their commitments.

NAM Vice President of International Economic Affairs Linda Dempsey said:

“Manufacturers are excited to see a strong Trade Facilitation Agreement enter into force today. Countries around the world have agreed to cut red tape at their borders and institute the kind of transparent customs system that the United States is proud to already have. As other countries fulfill their commitments to ensure predictable and efficient customs procedures, manufacturers in the United States will have improved access to the 95 percent of consumers outside our borders and expect increased sales opportunities globally that will bolster job growth at home. Today’s official start of the TFA reaffirms the importance of the WTO as a global rules-setting and rules-based organization, which is critical to raise standards and hold countries accountable to open and fair trade rules.”

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Several international organizations crunch trade-related data into country profiles and rankings, providing a snapshot of a country’s trade facilitation progress.

• The World Economic Forum’s Global Enabling Trade Report uses data from public and private sources to highlight the “best performers” across criteria like domestic market access and availability/quality of transport infrastructure.

• The World Bank, as part of its Doing Business project, records the time and costs associated with the logistical process of importing and exporting goods in 189 countries. The interactive Trading Across Borders database specifically examines three sets of procedures: documentary compliance, border compliance and domestic transport.

The OECD Trade Facilitation Indicators (TFIs) cover 11 policy areas of the TFA and will track, to the extent possible, implementation of trade facilitation measures. The interactive map covers 163 countries, with notes about each country’s trade facilitation performance and key opportunities for reform.

All developed country members of the WTO will start applying all of the substantive provisions of the TFA today. Developing countries and least developed countries will also begin applying those substantive provisions of the TFA they have indicated they are in a position to do so as set out in the Category A notifications, which more than 90 countries have submitted to date. The WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility and the publicprivate Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation are providing resources and helping countries tackle these changes on the ground.

Manufacturers in the United Statesparticularly small businesseswill see huge cost savings and new opportunities now that countries are required to be predictable, efficient and transparent with their customs processes.

To learn more about the NAM’s efforts to create efficient customs procedures in the United States and abroad, click here.

Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Amendments to Promote Engagement with Cuba

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved four amendments related to Cuba during today’s mark-up of the FY2017 Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Appropriations Act, including the following:

  • An amendment to lift the ban on private-sector agriculture export financing and to end the “180 day rule” for vessels that stop at a Cuban port, offered by FSGG Subcommittee Chairman John Boozman (R-AR) and Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Dick Durbin (D-IL); approved by a vote of 22-8
  • An amendment to lift the travel ban, offered by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Durbin; approved by voice vote
  • An amendment to allow U.S. companies to export consumer communications devices and telecommunications services to Cuba, offered by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM); approved by voice vote
  • An amendment to allow flights bound for Cuba to make technical stops at American airports, offered by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME); approved by voice vote

The NAM sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee this week in support of the amendments. Read More

Senate Finance Committee Examines U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency

By | Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

Last week, the Senate Finance Committee held an oversight hearing on U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that featured testimony from CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske. In his testimony, Kerlikowske highlighted the agency’s “Trade Transformation” initiative to create efficiency at the border and leverage publicprivate partnership programs. For example, the CBP continues to deploy the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), which will ultimately serve as the central portal where importers and exporters will electronically transmit the data required by the U.S. government to release cargo. Kerlikowske confirmed that the CBP is on track to deliver all core trade processing capabilities in ACE by December 31, 2016. He also highlighted the agency’s enforcement operations, citing enforcement of intellectual property rights and antidumping/countervailing duties as two of the CBP’s priority trade issues. Read More

Fully Functioning Ex-Im Bank Tops the List of Priority Trade Issues

By | Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

For manufacturers in the United States, trade is a priority issue. Ninety-five percent of the world’s population lives outside the United States, and it is essential that America’s manufacturers have the necessary trading tools in place to reach these foreign customers.

To address the importance of trade to American manufacturers’ competitiveness, the NAM hosted a Shopfloor event on Capitol Hill on April 15 with featured speakers including leading manufacturing CEOs and policy experts as well as Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA), chairman of the Subcommittee on Trade at the House Ways and Means Committee. One of the top issues the panelists discussed was the importance of a fully functioning Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank and the need for the Senate to move forward on the pending Ex-Im Board of Director nominee. Read More

It’s Time to End Cuba Trade Restrictions

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

President Obama made a historic visit this week to Cubathe first visit by a sitting U.S. president in nearly 90 yearson the heels of new announcements last week to further ease restrictions on exports and facilitate authorized travel to the island. In an address to the Cuban people, President Obama made clear that the goal of the trip was to “bury the last remnants of the Cold War in the Americas.” Across the three-day visit, President Obama engaged local entrepreneurs, visited the newly reopened U.S. Embassy and met with Cuban President Raul Castro to discuss a number of key issues impacting the path forward on normal trade relations between the two countries. At the start of the trip, Starwood Hotels & Resorts announced a new deal to develop and manage operations in Cuba, becoming the first U.S. hotel company presence on the island since the 1959 revolution. While the travel ban for U.S. tourism remains, the deal serves as another indicator of the significant changes in diplomatic relations over the past year.

The NAM released today a letter to commend Reps. Tom Emmer (R-MN) and Kathy Castor (D-FL) for their efforts to repeal the trade embargo on Cuba, the Cuba Trade Act of 2015 (H.R. 3238). The NAM is a strong advocate for a robust trade agenda to open markets abroad for manufacturers in the United States, and eliminating the trade embargo on Cuba will allow for increased economic activity between the two nations. A 2014 Peterson Institute study estimated that U.S. merchandise exports to Cuba could reach $4.3 billion annually. In recent years, merchandise exports to Cuba have been a fraction of thatgenerally ranging between $300 million and $500 million annually. Read More

House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee Examines Trade with Cuba

By | Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade held a hearing Tuesday on “Trade with Cuba: Growth and Opportunities.” The hearing comes ahead of President Obama’s historic visit to Cuba next week. The visit, a first for a sitting U.S. president in nearly 90 years, is a clear indication of the progress made since the administration announced in December 2014 its goal of normal trade relations with Cuba. Read More

President Signs Ex-Im Reauthorization into Law – A Massive Victory for Manufacturers

By | Economy, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

Final thank you jay quoteYesterday, President Obama signed into law a bill that included a multi-year reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, effectively re-opening the bank’s doors after a five-month lapse.  As NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons put it, ““This is a victory for manufacturers of all sizes as well as for workers here in the United States. The Ex-Im Bank is critical to keeping America competitive in the global economy.”  Read More

New Poll Finds Voters in Four “Heartland” States Favor Engagement with Cuba

By | Shopfloor Policy, Trade | No Comments

Earlier this week, the Engage Cuba coalition – of which the NAM is a partner – released with the Atlantic Council the results of a new poll that found a majority of Americans in four key “heartland” states support President Barack Obama’s decision to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba and are in favor of lifting all restrictions on travel to the island. Read More