EXIM Concludes 2020 Annual Conference "Keeping America Strong: Empowering U.S. Businesses and Workers"
WASHINGTON-The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) concluded its virtual 2020 Annual Conference, the largest conference in EXIM's history with over 1,700 registrants from across the United States. The conference included keynote speakers, panel discussions, and networking events designed to help U.S. companies expand their exporting opportunities.
Welcome Remarks from EXIM Chairman Kimberly A. Reed
EXIM President and Chairman Kimberly A. Reed kicked-off the final day of EXIM's 2020 Virtual Annual Conference with a moment of silence for the victims of 9/11, and the firefighters, police, emergency personnel, and medical caregivers who have devoted their lives to the cause of saving others.
In her opening remarks, Chairman Reed also provided an overview of the day's agenda and outlined EXIM's role in the recent commitment by Kosovo and Serbia to economic normalization.
"Over the last two days, conference participants have had the opportunity to hear from leaders in government, academia, and the private sector, as well as connect with potential customers beyond our country's border," said Chairman Reed. "All of us at EXIM and across the entire Trump Administration are committed to supporting the U.S. businesses and workers not only who attended the conference but all across the United States as they export their 'Made in the USA' goods and services all around the world. Along with my fellow Board members Director Spencer Bachus and Director Judith Pryor, I thank our wonderful speakers, who took time to share their insights, the EXIM staff, and all our conference participants."
Keynote Remarks and a Conversation on the Global Outlook for the U.S. Energy Industry
Following Chairman Reed's opening remarks, she participated in a discussion with U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, focused on the global outlook for the U.S. Energy Industry and how EXIM and DOE can partner together to support energy exports.
"Under this Administration, America is now the world's largest producer of oil and gas, one of the three largest global LNG exporters, and a leader in cutting-edge battery storage and clean energy technologies," said Secretary Brouillette. "Our steadfast support for American energy along with the work being done at the EXIM Bank, has created opportunities for more jobs, infrastructure investment and development, and enhanced energy security here in America and to our allies around the world."
Exporting American Energy: A Conversation with Energy Industry CEOs
The morning plenary session concluded with a panel discussion, moderated by The Wall Street Journal Energy Reporter Tim Puko. The panel discussion featured Meg Gentle, President and CEO of Tellurian; John Hopkins, Chairman and CEO of NuScale Power; and Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar, discussing the opportunities for U.S. companies to compete around the globe, and the role that EXIM has in supporting U.S. energy producers.
"Global demand for liquefied natural gas will double by 2040 and unlocking this affordable fuel for emerging economies means additional infrastructure investment. EXIM plays a crucial role in supporting these economies and providing a way to source safe and reliable American natural gas," said Gentle.
"American solar manufacturers have firsthand experience with the destructive impact of granting unfettered access to state-subsidized Chinese companies that are ultimately seeking to dismantle any competition through unfair means. As this dynamic plays out globally, we look forward to partnering with EXIM to establish a level international playing field for American-made solar," said Widmar.
ECA Activity Around the World, Small Business Financing, Multiplier Effect and the Global Export Landscape
A third set of four concurrent breakout sessions occurred as part of EXIM's 2020 Annual Conference. Isabel Galdiz, Vice President of International Relations at EXIM moderated a panel titled, "Ask the Experts: ECA Activity Around the World," which included David Drysdale, Head of Export Credits Division, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); Dominik Kloiber, Co-founder and Commercial Director, TXF Media; and Laszlo Varnai, Associate Director, Berne Union. In this data-driven session, panelists discussed the challenges American exporters face and explored the wider world of export credit agencies (ECAs) from different perspectives. The panel discussed: data available to observers interested in understanding the official export finance market; the changing environment of the global ECA arena; and, which ECAs are emerging as leaders in various regions and sectors and the things they are doing to win bids.
Steven Freshour, Vice President of Business Credit at EXIM spoke at a second concurrent breakout session titled "Small Business Track: Overview of the Working Capital and Supply Chain Guarantee Programs." Mr. Freshour provided an overview of these two programs including an outline of how each program works; who qualifies and overall program eligibility; uses and borrower benefits; and modifications to provide COVID-19 relief.
A third concurrent breakout session titled "The Multiplier Effect: Supporting Large Deals Through Services Exports," offered Annual Conference attendees the opportunity to learn more about EXIM's Engineering Multiplier Program, which provides financing for preliminary engineering and design services that are critical to winning larger deals. The session was moderated by Douglas Frye, Senior Loan Officer and Business Developer and EXIM and featured Bob Doyle, Director of Project and Structured Financing, Honeywell UOP; Mark Erdly, AIA, Studio Director, Gensler; and David G. Hester, Managing Director for Technical Development, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation. Panelists discussed the program's benefits for U.S. service providers, exporters, and suppliers, as well as how working in conjunction with the U.S. Trade Development Agency and U.S. International Development Finance Corporation may lower the all-in cost of project financing.
The fourth morning concurrent breakout session titled "U.S. LNG and the Global Export Landscape," focused on how Liquified Natural Gas has transformed the global energy landscape. Attendees heard from leading companies in the industry about current trends and export opportunities. The panel was moderated by Ambassador Richard Morningstar, Founding Chairman, Global Energy Center, Atlantic Council, and featured Samantha Carl-Yoder, Director, International Affairs and Marketing, Tellurian; Martin Hupka, Chief Commercial Officer and General Counsel, Sempra LNG; and Chris Smith, Senior Vice President, Cheniere Energy.
Finding Deals around the World, Engineering & Environmental Considerations, and EXIM Anti-Fraud Strategy
In the afternoon, attendees had an opportunity to listen to a series of three afternoon concurrent breakout sessions as well. The first session titled "Small Business Track: Where in the World are the Deals?," was moderated by Alex Sanchez, President and CEO, Florida Bankers Association. Attendees heard from financial industry leaders including Andre Gazal, Managing Director, Global Head of Export Finance, Credit Agricole CIB; Meaghan McCrath, Global Head of Syndications, International Finance Corporation; and T.J. Raguso, Executive Vice President and Director of Global Banking, Zions Bancorporation, about where they are doing deals, potential future opportuni