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Administration Officials, Congressional and Business Leaders Call for EXIM Board Quorum and Reauthorization

White House officials, members of the U.S. House of Representatives, and business and trade leaders address EXIM’s 2019 annual conference

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March, 28, 2019

Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Linda Formella (202-565-3204)

Washington, D.C. – Senior White House officials, members of the U.S. House of Representatives, and business and trade leaders today called upon the Senate to confirm nominees for the board of directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) and for Congress to reauthorize the bank later this year. The remarks were made to the approximately 800 exporters, lenders, brokers, and other trade professionals attending EXIM’s 2019 Annual Conference, being held in Washington, D.C., on March 28-29.

In the opening keynote address, Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow acknowledged his reservations as a “free-market economist” about government subsidies and credits but said that EXIM is needed in the current trade environment, particularly with respect to China, in order for the United States to compete and succeed in international markets.

“EXIM Bank can be working with us and helping American interests around the world because the geopolitics have gotten much tougher, and the competition has gotten much tougher. And, yes, a lot of this, too, revolves around China,” Kudlow said. “This is an export credit lending matter that we believe will be very helpful in the new tougher global competition. You are a financial tool and a national security weapon.”

In the luncheon keynote address, Dr. Peter Navarro, director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, noted the losses of contracts and jobs that the United States has experienced during the period in which EXIM has been without a quorum on the bank’s board of directors and consequently has been unable to approve larger transactions.

“The costs of keeping the EXIM Bank on the sidelines can be measured in the tens of billions of dollars of products we fail to export—and in the thousands of jobs we fail to create when this country does not have a fully functioning export credit agency to compete with its counterparts around the world,” Navarro said. “It’s time for Congress to end its delaying tactics and get on the side of America’s farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and workers.”

Navarro also called for Congress to reauthorize EXIM before the bank’s current authorization expires at the end of September. “We don’t just need a quorum at EXIM. We also need longer-term assurance that EXIM will be fully functional and properly funded to strongly support U.S. businesses and keep our exporters competitive.”

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives speaking at the conference confirmed their support for EXIM’s board quorum and reauthorization. House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) told conference participants not to worry and said, “A lot can happen when you have the gavel.” Congressmen Denny Heck (D-WA) and Frank Lucas (R-OK) affirmed their longstanding support for the bank’s mission.

In panel discussions, business and trade leaders in several critical industries, including energy, aerospace, satellites, and the power sector expressed their concerns about the competitive disadvantage that U.S. exporters are currently facing and urged support for EXIM’s return to full functionality. UK Export Finance Chief Louis Taylor emphasized the need for international collaboration in trade but also recognized the shift to national priorities and the need for governments to support their exporters.

EXIM’s two-day annual conference continues on Friday, March 29, with panel discussions about the multiplier effect of EXIM export credit on the U.S. supply chain, EXIM’s efforts to engage the private sector in risk-sharing, and competition in Africa’s energy sector. In a one-on-one conversation, John Rice, chairman of GE Gas Power, will share his views on the challenges that American companies face in competing for major energy projects around the globe. EXIM’s conference will conclude with the presentation of the bank’s annual small business awards.

ABOUT EXIM BANK:

EXIM Bank is an independent federal agency that provides competitive and necessary export credit to overseas purchasers of U.S. exports to promote and support American jobs. A robust and fully functioning EXIM Bank can assist the United States in leveling the global playing field for U.S. exporters when they compete against foreign companies that receive the support of their national export credit agencies. EXIM also contributes to U.S. economic growth and the support of more than a million jobs through the support of thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) around the country. Since 2000, EXIM Bank has provided $14.8 billion to the U.S. Treasury after paying for all of its administrative and program expenses.