The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) joins members of both parties in applauding Congress’ passage of the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act of 2018 (BUILD Act) as part of the recent broader Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization package. The BUILD Act reorganizes the way that development funds are parceled out. This is important because it creates a counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a Chinese effort to solidify its global economic and strategic influence by dumping billions into investment projects in dozens of countries around the world.
Countering China’s influence is something Republicans believe is important. It’s something Democrats think is important. And it’s something that manufacturers think is important. Then it must be time for America to get serious by taking the most critical and obvious step next: let’s finally get the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank back up and running again.
For years now, the Ex-Im Bank has been effectively shuttered because the Senate has not taken action to fill vacancies on the board of directors. This is the agency that provides financing and insurance for American exports where there are no private-sector alternatives. Manufacturers and companies across the country depend on a fully functioning Ex-Im Bank to compete effectively with economic rivals across the globe—nearly all of which are backed by their own export credit agency.
China is a perfect example. Last year, China’s version of the Ex-Im Bank provided $45 billion in medium- and long-term support for projects around the world—more than the rest of the world combined. Given that, it’s no surprise that exporters in the United States continue to lose deals to China by the day, harming manufacturing industries and workers across the country.
Take Hoffman Equipment. Its $125 million deal to sell hundreds of pieces of heavy equipment to Cameroon has been scooped up by China because the financing exceeded what the Ex-Im Bank can greenlight while its board has this many vacancies. Musya Tumanyan, senior vice president at Hoffman, has been fending off attempts by China—backed by seemingly unlimited government financing—to steal even more contracts away from Hoffman. We must put an end to lost sales and lost opportunities that are hurting our manufacturing base.
That’s why the NAM has called repeatedly for the Senate to take immediate action to confirm Kimberly Reed as the leader of the Ex-Im Bank and deliver her a board quorum. That’s all that’s needed for the Ex-Im Bank to get back online. That’s all that’s necessary to start putting American exports back on a more level playing field with those of China and others. That’s it. Congress doesn’t need to pass a law. Congress doesn’t even need to vet these nominees through committee (it already happened). All that’s needed is for the Senate to simply vote on their confirmations before the full Senate. Up or down. Yes or no.
A fully functional Ex-Im Bank is yet another example of how Congress and the Trump administration can align economic security with national security, a key priority of the president’s National Security Strategy. Just as the BUILD Act stands up to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a fully functional Ex-Im Bank will help counter China’s use of its export credit agencies to put Chinese interests ahead of ours. Now is the time to get this done.
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)
NAM Tells Congress to Put Politics Aside and Restore Bank to Full Functionality
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons issued the following statement calling on Congress to use the lame-duck session to restore the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank to full functionality:
“As long as the Ex-Im Bank cannot fully operate, America will lose manufacturing jobs to other countries, which are winning new sales and manufacturing while our hands are tied. It’s time for Congress to show some backbone—and real leadership—to make the agency work again for hardworking Americans across the country. Jobs and livelihoods cannot be sacrificed to score a political point. A supermajority of Congress has already settled the question of Ex-Im reauthorization. Voters just reaffirmed the importance they place on strengthening manufacturing, and manufacturers need a fully functional Ex-Im Bank to compete and win again in the global economy. Anything less means manufacturers in the United States will lose. In fact, our foreign competitors would love to see the Ex-Im Bank remain hobbled.”
CONTACT: Jennifer Drogus, (202) 637-3090
This week, U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank users, stakeholders and government officials, including members of the administration, will convene in Washington, D.C., for the 2016 Annual Ex-Im Summit. There’s reason to celebrate at this year’s conference as the Ex-Im Bank, a critical tool for businesses of all sizes across the United States, was reauthorized last December by a supermajority in Congress after an extensive advocacy campaign. While the Ex-Im Bank’s doors are open, it can’t operate at full capacity because three of the five seats on its board of directors are empty. As a result, the Ex-Im Bank lacks the necessary quorum to review and approve certain transactions. If Congress fails to act on the pending nomination to the board, the agency will be handicapped in its mission to help U.S. exporters compete and succeed in the global consumer marketplace. With 95 percent of those consumers outside our borders, the Ex-Im Bank helps exporters take advantage of huge market opportunities overseas that will fuel job growth here at home. Read More