FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 21, 2020
Office of Communications (202) 565-3201
Washington, D.C. – The Advisory Committee of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) met today for the first time since EXIM’s historic seven-year reauthorization was signed into law on December 20, 2019, by President Donald J. Trump – the longest in the agency’s 85-year history – to discuss key reforms at the agency and ways EXIM can combat Chinese aggression in export credit finance.
EXIM Advisory Committee Chair, the Honorable Stevan Pearce, presided over the public meeting. Eleven Advisory Committee members participated, along with EXIM President and Chairman Kimberly A. Reed and Board Members Spencer Bachus III and Judith D. Pryor.
Since Chairman Reed was confirmed as EXIM President and Chairman in May of 2019, she has undertaken six specific categories of agency reforms that she outlined to Congress. Among those are increasing transparency, strengthening taxpayer protections, and working to reduce the reliance on export credit agencies globally. In today’s meeting, the Advisory Committee resumed its October 31, 2019, discussion by focusing on other key reforms: improving protection for domestic companies and ensuring that EXIM does not crowd out private sector financing.
Specifically, the Advisory Committee furthered its review of EXIM’s economic impact procedures and proposed guidelines for determining “additionality.” EXIM Chief of Staff David Fogel and EXIM Senior Vice President of Policy Analysis and International Relations James Cruse provided a status update and the Advisory Committee continued its dialogue with Tod Burwell, President and CEO of the Bankers Association for Finance and Trade, and Veronique de Rugy, Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
EXIM first kicked-off its economic impact and additionality reform efforts by soliciting public comment between September 10 and October 23, 2019. Economic impact procedures assess the potential impacts of EXIM support of pending applications on relevant domestic industries in the United States. Additionality refers to the reasons why EXIM financing is needed in a particular transaction.
At the start of today’s meeting, the Advisory Committee received a report from EXIM Senior Vice President of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs Ross Branson about the agency’s reauthorization, which was passed last month by Congress with bipartisan support. This reauthorization provides certainty and stability to American workers and businesses that EXIM is fully open for business, and it gives clear direction to focus on economic and national security challenges from China.
As part of its legislative mandate to advise EXIM on its programs and provide Congress with comments “on the extent to which the agency is meeting its mandate to provide competitive financing to expand United States exports,” the Advisory Committee also received an overview of China’s influence in Latin American markets by Martin Gonzales, CEO of Kukulkan S&C and owner of Phoenix Oil Services, both of which provide services in the oil and gas sector. For United States businesses to be more competitive and successful in Latin America, Mr. Gonzales stressed the importance of more government-to-government outreach, particularly now that EXIM is reauthorized.
“Our progress and commitment to reforming EXIM were key factors in securing the longest reauthorization in EXIM’s 85-year history,” said Chairman Reed. “This seven-year reauthorization, however, does not mean a return to business as usual. In order to fulfill our Congressional mandates, EXIM will continue to transform and work to ensure we do not compete with private financing, while also protecting the American taxpayer. EXIM also received clear direction from Congress to compete with China, which I take very seriously.”
“In the wake of President Trump’s leadership and Congress’ bipartisan support on reauthorizing EXIM, it is clear that Chairman Reed and the EXIM staff are taking their new mandate seriously by focusing on real reforms that will strengthen the agency for years to come,” said Chair Pearce. “I applaud their efforts and look forward to working alongside Chairman Reed as she implements her new vision of keeping America strong.”
“I appreciate Chairman Reed’s leadership on these issues that are critical to growing U.S. exports,” said committee member Alex Sanchez, President and CEO of the Florida Bankers Association. “EXIM has always been a partner of Florida’s banks, never a competitor, and I’m confident that Chairman Reed’s reforms will only strengthen those alliances.”
“Zions Bancorporation applauds EXIM’s reauthorization,” said committee member T.J. Raguso, Group Executive Vice President and Director of Global Banking for Zions Bancorporation. “We have seen first-hand the important role that EXIM programs play in helping our small and medium-sized exporters. This long-term reauthorization provides certainty to exporters that they can count on EXIM to fulfill its critical mission of helping to level the playing field for U.S. exporters.”
“All of us at EXIM, including roughly 400 dedicated staff members, are committed to enacting these reforms that will help us fulfill EXIM’s mission of supporting American jobs by facilitating U.S. exports,” said Director Bachus. “With a long-term reauthorization, EXIM can continue providing those positive results while focusing on the economic and national security challenges from China.”
In addition to the directive to compete with China, Congress also directed EXIM to expand its promotion of renewable energy sources, including a goal that no less than five percent of lending authority be made available for this purpose each fiscal year.
“Congress also has directed EXIM to expand its renewable energy efforts to include storage and energy efficiency,” said Director Pryor. “I look forward to working with American businesses, members of our Advisory Committee, and EXIM’s dedicated staff to make renewable exports a larger part of our portfolio.”
EXIM is an independent federal agency that promotes and supports American jobs by providing competitive and necessary export credit to overseas purchasers of U.S. goods and services. A robust EXIM can level the global playing field for U.S. exporters when they compete against foreign companies that receive support from their governments. EXIM also contributes to U.S. economic growth by helping to create and sustain hundreds of thousands of jobs in exporting businesses and their supply chains across the United States. In FY 2019, over 89 percent of EXIM’s transactions – more than 2,100 – directly supported American small businesses. Since 1992, EXIM has generated more than $9 billion for the U.S. Treasury for repayment of U.S. debt.
For more information about EXIM, please visit www.exim.gov.