Tag: Ex-Im Bank

Leadership Engagement Series Continues in Houston

The NAM’s Leadership Engagement Series, a nationwide roadshow aimed at elevating top manufacturing priorities, continued today in Houston. Today’s event featured a panel discussion led by NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons, who was joined by BP America Chairman and President John Mingé. Also participating were the CEOs of Emerson, Fluor Corporation, and Marlin Steel Wire Products. Our panelists shared their insights on a wide range of topics, including national energy policy and Washington’s legislative agenda for the rest of the year.

Of particular concern to our panelists and manufacturers participating in today’s event is the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im). The Ex-Im bank remains an invaluable tool for manufacturers, especially smaller companies, who rely on the bank’s funding to help finance export projects. Yet Ex-Im is currently in danger of being shut down if not reauthorized by Congress by the end of September, an outcome that would have dire consequences for Texas’ economy.

Houston Leadership EventThat’s because exports are a big business in Texas. Manufacturing accounts for more than 93 percent of Texas’ exports, which in turn support over 26 percent of Texas manufacturing jobs. And most of those exporters are small companies, not large corporations. Without the Export-Import Bank, many of these smaller manufacturers could find themselves shut out of a critical source of capital financing for their businesses, putting jobs in jeopardy.

Ex-Im was just one of many topics discussed and debated at today’s Leadership Engagement Series. There are a multitude of challenges being faced by manufacturers in today’s economic and political climate, and in the coming weeks the NAM will use these types of forums to help engage manufacturing leaders in the political process.

Stay tuned for updates from our next Leadership Engagement Series stop, coming up on September 15th in Iowa.

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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 http://www.nam.org/Issues/Trade/Ex-Im-Bank.aspx.

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Global Manufacturing Economic Update – July 11, 2014

Here is the summary for this month’s Global Manufacturing Economic Update: 

The global economy improved slightly in June, showing some signs of stabilization from weaknesses in prior months. The J.P. Morgan Global Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) increased from 52.1 in May to 52.7 in June, its fastest pace since February. Various measures of activity were mostly higher, including new orders, production and employment. Behind this figure, the data also reflected economic progress in countries such as China, Hong Kong and Japan, each of which shifted from a contraction in May to slight growth in June. As a result, just 2 of the top 10 markets for U.S.-manufactured goods had PMI values below 50 in June, an improvement from the five that registered contracting levels in May. Our largest trading partner’s values, the RBC Canadian Manufacturing PMI, increased from 52.2 to 53.5, reaching its highest point since December.

Europe dominated economic headlines on July 10, with worries about a large Portuguese bank and falling industrial production figures for France (down 1.7 percent), Germany (down 1.8 percent) and Italy (down 1.2 percent). Indeed, European growth has continued to ease, with the Markit European Manufacturing PMI down from 52.2 to 51.8. On the positive side, manufacturing activity has now expanded for 12 straight months, but the economy in the Eurozone remains subpar overall. Real GDP was up just 0.2 percent in the first quarter and is expected to increase around 1 percent in 2014 as a whole. Still, growth varied widely from country to country. France sits on one end of the spectrum, with manufacturing sentiment worsening and falling to a six-month low. Meanwhile, Ireland and Spain experienced multiyear highs for sales growth, and new orders in the United Kingdom expanded rather robustly (up from 59.5 to 61.0).

In the emerging markets, manufacturers in Brazil, Russia, South Korea and Turkey reported contracting levels of activity in June, although Russian production grew for the first time in six months and South Korean exports began to stabilize. Overall, however, manufacturing activity in the emerging markets expanded for the second straight month, spurred higher by better news in some Asian economies. Stronger sales and output resulted in increased manufacturing PMI data for China, India, Indonesia and Taiwan. India also benefited from greater export growth. Next week, we will get new data on Chinese GDP, industrial production, fixed-asset investment and retail sales. Real GDP is expected to pick up slightly, from the 7.4 percent annualized growth rate experienced in the first quarter, with a consensus estimate of around 7.5 percent. While this is a marginal improvement, it also continues to reflect decelerating rates of growth from what was experienced in the past.

Looking at U.S. trade flows, petroleum helped to narrow the U.S. trade deficit in May, with more exports and fewer imports improving the headline figure. This continues a trend seen over the past few years whereby improved energy production in the United States has slightly helped balance the trade picture. Outside of petroleum, the numbers were less favorable. The average monthly deficit so far in 2014 reached $43.65 billion, higher than the $39.70 billion average for all of 2013. In addition, U.S.-manufactured goods exports continue to grow at a disappointing rate, up just 0.5 percent year-to-date versus this time last year using non-seasonally adjusted data. Nonetheless, exports of manufactured goods increased to all five of our largest trading partners through the first five months of this year: Canada, Mexico, China, Japan and Germany. That is an encouraging sign, even if we would like to see faster growth in our international sales overall.

On the policy front, the congressional debate on reauthorization of the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank continues to move forward, while action on other trade legislation is currently stalled. The World Trade Organization (WTO) officially began environmental goods negotiations, while both the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) continue. The U.S. trading relationship with key partners, including India, China and Russia, continues to be a focus.

Chad Moutray is the chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers. 

china pmi - jul2014

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Exporters for Ex-Im: Bank Helping Veteran-run Business Create Jobs

Based in an unobtrusive building in Newport Beach, California, one might never know that the small company, FirmGreen, is becoming a worldwide leader in alternative energy. Converting renewable resources such as landfill gas into renewable electricity and clean fuel, FirmGreen is one of the over 2,000 small businesses that relied on the Ex-Im Bank’s financing in 2013 to continue its growth.

Vietnam Veteran and FirmGreen CEO Steve Wilburn

FirmGreen CEO Steve Wilburn

Steve Wilburn, FirmGreen’s CEO and Chairman says one of the main reasons his company sought financing for his clients through the Bank was due to the high demand for his services overseas.  “While some American companies are interested in utilizing clean energy, it is a higher priority for many International companies and we wanted access to that demand,” said Wilburn.

A former Marine and decorated Vietnam War Veteran, Wilburn has never considered accepting a government hand-out and points to the fact that financing from the Ex-Im Bank is not only proving to be a revenue builder for the U.S., but is also helping to generate critical U.S. jobs that simply wouldn’t exist without these projects. Case in point, a recent project led by FirmGreen to develop clean fuel from landfills in Brazil generated 165 new manufacturing jobs across seven states and is helping to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Unfortunately, recent Congressional debate over the Bank’s future has already taken its toll on companies like FirmGreen. Wilburn cites a recent contract worth $57 million and countless U.S. jobs that his firm lost because the uncertainty surrounding the reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank was not deemed worth the risk of working with a U.S. based firm. FirmGreen is still fighting for the project, but in the meantime any plans to ramp up operations and increase their skilled manufacturing labor force have been halted. “For Congress to create a partisan issue out of a bipartisan entity that is supporting U.S. business and growing jobs simply for the debate is just wrong,” added Wilburn.

Despite the ongoing debate in Washington, FirmGreen continues to follow its vision of expanding the use of cleaner and more innovative energy options. The company recently developed and patented a lighting solution to significantly reduce overall energy costs, something the international community is highly interested in.  However, unless Congress takes steps soon to reauthorize the Bank, companies like FirmGreen, and the innovative advancements they are leading, will be in serious jeopardy.

“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 http://www.nam.org/Issues/Trade/Ex-Im-Bank.aspx.  

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Manufacturers Welcome Ex-Im Proposal and Urge Congressional Action to Reauthorize this Vital Tool to Promote Small Business Exports and a Robust U.S. Trade Policy

The Ex-Im Bank is a critical tool for manufacturers who are competing in the global economy. Reauthorization of the bank’s funding is a top priority for manufacturers as it helps to boost our nation’s exports and supports U.S. job growth.

In his opening remarks at the Ex-Im Bank annual conference this morning, Chairman Fred Hochberg said the Administration submitted a draft reauthorization bill to the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate yesterday. The proposed bill would increase the Bank’s lending cap by $5 billion each fiscal year from FY15-FY18, with an exposure limit capped at $160 billion. The bill would also extend Ex-Im Bank’s authority through September 30, 2019.

The outline Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred Hochberg has laid out today is an important step forward, and we urge members of the House and Senate to expedite legislation to reauthorize the bank before its authorization expires on September 30.

Last year alone, the Ex-Im Bank supported 3,400 small business transactions. Given the highly competitive global economy, reauthorization of the bank is a vital component to a robust U.S. trade policy that levels the playing field for America’s manufacturers whose international competitors already benefit from their own governments’ highly generous export financing.

Click here to read the NAM blog series Exporters for Ex-Im, which highlights the importance of the Ex-Im Bank to manufacturers. To learn more, click here or join the conversation on Twitter at #ExIm4jobs.

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Exporters for Ex-Im: Texas Small Business Expanding to New Markets Thanks To Ex-Im

In the latest edition of NAM’s Member Focus, the featured success story of Polyguard Products reveals the importance of the Export-Import Bank’s services to small and medium-sized manufacturers.

In 2005, Polyguard—a Texas-based manufacturer of protective coatings for rehabilitation and weld joints on pipelines—was sitting on the sidelines of the global marketplace. Like many small businesses, the company knew there was substantial opportunity to grow their business, but was initially hesitant to take the risk of expanding export activity without export credit insurance to safeguard against potentially hefty unpaid invoices from abroad. Adding to the challenge was the fact that private insurers often refrain from providing credit to manufacturers with smaller volumes of exports. Without export financing or insurance, small and medium-sized manufacturers face an overwhelming disadvantage compared with their global counterparts.

That’s why Polyguard turned to Ex-Im’s credit insurance, which allows small companies the opportunity to compete in the global marketplace. Polyguard has increased sales by 338% since 2005, and has more than doubled its employee count. Polyguard exports to 34 countries and counting, and won the Presidential “E” Award for outstanding contributions to growing U.S. exports in 2010. The company’s President John Muncaster and his son Nate Muncaster, Director of Global Business Development, say the expansion wouldn’t have been possible without support from the Ex-Im Bank.

“If you want small and medium companies to succeed at exports—a very significant part of the American economy—it’s Ex-Im’s role to support and underwrite those guys,” said Nathan Muncaster.

And it’s not just the Bank’s role; a congressional mandate requires Ex-Im to direct 20 percent of its funds to small businesses. In 2012, the Bank authorized $6.1 billion, nearly 17% of total transactions, directly in support of small businesses. If Congress fails to re-authorize the Ex-Im Bank before its current charter expires in September, small and medium-sized manufacturers like Polyguard would be forced to settle for less than what they’re capable of achieving and the American economy will suffer.

“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 http://www.nam.org/Issues/Trade/Ex-Im-Bank.aspx.  

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Exporters for Ex-Im: Bank Key To Wallpaper Company’s Growth

As the world’s economy strengthens and competition for global consumers intensifies, ensuring U.S. companies have the ability to tap into that growing market is becoming increasingly more important. With 95 percent of consumers existing outside of our country’s borders, foreign companies are quickly seeking new ways to dominate the marketplace and undercut their U.S. counterparts.

Fortunately, U.S. manufacturers are up for the challenge and, given the slow turnaround of our own country’s economy in recent years, are increasingly relying on exports to faster-growing markets around the world in order to continue to grow and produce jobs. In 2012, manufactured goods exports reached a record $1.35 trillion. Today more than a quarter of everything we make in the U.S. is sold overseas and according to the White House, one in three U.S. manufacturing jobs depends on exports.

One of the main elements fostering this impressive growth is the support of the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. (Ex-Im Bank), which offers financing for American companies to export their goods and services, often when American creditors will not. This is essential to ensuring U.S. companies are properly equipped to compete with International businesses, many of whom are receiving aggressive government support ranging from development funding to export financing.

For the Pennsylvania-based manufacturer, Wallquest, this certainly rings true. A family-owned company since 1985, Wallquest is one of the larger wallpaper manufacturers in the U.S. Though still considered a relatively small manufacturer, the company’s dedication to creating a quality, innovative product while preserving traditional standards has helped secure their competitive advantage within the global home furnishings sector. Today, 90 percent of their American-made products are sold overseas.

Much of the company’s growth has occurred in the past few years as they were able to expand their customer base within international markets. In 2008, at the time the company began receiving financing from the Ex-Im Bank, they were 80 employees strong. In large part due to this financial support, the company was able to lower their cost of capital and open up a new, expanded market for foreign customers. Just four years later, in 2012 Wallquest reached 185 employees and today are looking to expand even further.

Jack Collins, vice president of Wallquest said, “Today we are selling wallpaper in 61 different countries. The Ex-Im Bank’s working capital programs played a key part in financing our company’s growth.” Beyond the company’s own growth, Collins also acknowledges the other domestic sectors of the economy that benefit, from the raw material suppliers to the professional services such as accountants and lawyers.

Wallquest is just one of over 3,400 small businesses that are prospering and helping to create U.S. jobs because of the support of the Ex-Im Bank. As Members of Congress consider the Bank’s reauthorization this September, it is critical that they recognize why companies like Wallquest deserve a level playing field to continue to grow our economy and contribute to America’s future.

“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 http://www.nam.org/Issues/Trade/Ex-Im-Bank.aspx.  


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Manufacturers Welcome President’s Comments on TPA and Market-opening Trade Agreements

Manufacturers welcome the President’s commitment to seek passage of Trade Promotion Authority and move forward on market-opening trade agreements in the Asia Pacific and with Europe.

For manufacturers, opening new markets overseas is critical. The NAM is working on both sides of Capitol Hill with both Democrats and Republicans to advance a robust trade agenda that will tear down barriers for U.S.-manufactured exports. For too many years, the United States has sat on the sidelines as other countries negotiated trade deals that put our manufacturers at an increasing competitive disadvantage.

We look forward to working with the administration on passage of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act, introduced earlier this month by Ways and Means Chairman Camp, Finance Chairman Baucus and Ranking Member Hatch, which sets forth strong negotiating objectives and the much-needed framework to put the United States in a strong negotiating position for market-opening trade agreements.

The NAM will continue to make the case for robust trade policies and agreements here in Washington and around the country, emphasizing the importance of the elimination of unfair barriers overseas and strong rules on intellectual property, investment, fair competition and other commercial outcomes in new agreements.

Manufacturers also need access to competitive export financing to take advantage of new market opportunities, and the NAM will continue to advocate for a strong U.S. Export-Import Bank that can back exporters when needed. Ex-Im Bank is the only tool American manufacturers have to counter the approximately $1 trillion in export financing that other governments provide their exporters, and Ex-Im Bank helps to level the playing field for exporters to compete on the basis of quality and price rather than on financing terms. The NAM is also working to enhance the competitiveness of manufacturers in the United States through global and national initiatives to cut cross-border transaction costs and address regulatory hurdles abroad.


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Ex-Im Bank Policy Change Included in Omnibus Spending Bill

Last night, the Senate passed an omnibus spending bill that provides appropriations for the federal government through September 30. The FY2014 appropriations bill, passed by the House earlier this week and headed to the President for signature, also included a policy rider that will temporarily stop the U.S. Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) from preemptively denying support for exports of U.S. goods to most new coal-fired power plants abroad.

The provision – outlined on page 1385-87 of the legislation– states that none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available may be obligated or expended to provide (until September 30, 2014) for the enforcement of any rule, regulation, policy, or guidelines implemented pursuant to the Supplemental Guidelines for High Carbon Intensity Projects approved by Ex-Im Bank on December 12, 2013. The bill also bars the enforcement of the modification proposed by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) in November 2013 to OPIC’s Environmental and Social Policy Statement relating to coal. The NAM had previously argued against Ex-Im Bank’s new guidelines, since they run contrary to the Bank’s principle mandate to support U.S. jobs through exports. Manufacturers applaud House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) for tackling this issue in this important legislation.

The revisions to Ex-Im Bank’s Environmental Procedures & Guidelines, as approved by the Ex-Im Bank Board of Directors in December, would substantially deter Ex-Im support for new coal-fired power plants abroad. Although those rules provide some flexibility with respect to the poorest countries in the world, the new guidelines required carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology to secure Ex-Im financing for coal-fired power plants in most countries – a technology that manufacturers of CCS systems have repeatedly said is not yet ready. The changes were intended to align Ex-Im Bank’s procedures with the President’s Carbon Action Plan, announced in June. The NAM submitted comments to Ex-Im in November, in response to the first draft of proposed changes to Ex-Im Bank’s environmental guidelines.

Ex-Im Bank’s underlying carbon policy, and the updated supplemental environmental guidelines enacted last summer by a unanimous Board vote, will remain in effect. While the OECD has recommendations for common approaches on environmental and social due diligence for export credit agencies, there is not yet any international or domestic consensus on how best to address the challenges associated with climate change. Meanwhile, demand for coal and other energy sources continues to rise around the world as countries develop and millions of people are lifted out of poverty and begin to seek industrial and economic gains. Examples abound of official export credit agency (ECA) support for energy and infrastructure projects that ensure steady energy supplies to countries with these growing demands. New coal-fired power plants are also in the works in many developed countries – Japan, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and the UK. The carbon guidelines that remain in place at Ex-Im Bank encourage and permit the Board to take into account the environmental effects of goods and services for which support is requested, without categorically barring support for U.S. exports to foreign coal-fired power plants.

Manufacturers continue to strongly support Ex-Im Bank and its mission to support U.S. exports. Ex-Im authorized more than $27 billion in support of about $37 billion of U.S. exports in FY2013, supporting approximately 205,000 American jobs in communities across the country. Nearly 90% of Ex-Im Bank’s transactions were with small businesses. In the last five years, Ex-Im Bank has assisted in financing more than $188 billion of U.S. exports and supported 1.2 million American jobs – and last year, the Bank generated $1 billion in revenue for the Treasury Department. Ex-Im Bank helps level the global playing field and plays a vital role in ensuring manufacturers have access to competitive export financing. Read more about the importance of Ex-Im Bank to manufacturers at www.nam.org/ExIm.

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Ex-Im Bank Generates $1 Billion in Profits

Earlier this week, the U.S. Ex-Im Bank announced that it was transferring more than $1 billion to the U.S. Treasury’s General Fund for FY2013. The Bank transferred the revenue – primarily generated from the fees from its customers for loan guarantees, export credit insurance and other services – after covering its own operating costs and contributing to loan loss reserves. In 2012, Ex-Im Bank’s authorizations supported about $50 billion in U.S. export sales and approximately 255,000 American jobs. The Bank has been consistently profitable since 1992, returning billions of dollars in profits to taxpayers over the years and contributing to federal deficit reduction.

The ability of U.S. companies to export has always been a critical issue for the NAM, and exports are increasingly important to the U.S. economy and to the success of domestic manufacturing. Ex-Im Bank as one of the most important tools the U.S. government has to help grow U.S. exports and jobs, and the only tool that American manufacturers have to counter the approximately $1 trillion in export financing that other governments provide their exporters.

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