The Export-Import Bank of the United States (more commonly known as Ex-Im) is under attack these days.
This is despite the fact that, as a public corporation, Ex-Im made a 2013 profit of $1.06 billion, which was contributed to the federal government’s net revenue. Ex-Im’s current charter will expire on Sept. 30 unless Congress renews it.
For those not familiar, Ex-Im makes loans to foreign companies to be able to buy products manufactured in the United States. With the highest percentage of jobs derived from manufacturing, Indiana is the most manufacturing-intensive state. Therefore, renewal of Ex-Im creates Indiana jobs.
Despite being self-funding, and not subsidized on the taxpayers’ dole, enemies of Ex-Im Bank accuse it of “crony capitalism,” commonly using Boeing as their bogeyman.
While it is true that Boeing is among the largest corporations in the U.S., some of whose overseas customers have bought its aircraft through Ex-Im financing, the vast majority of American manufacturers who benefit from Ex-Im financing to their overseas clients happen to be small and medium enterprises (SME), such as my employer, which account for nearly 90 percent of Ex-Im’s transactions.
A few years ago, I helped a small customer of mine in Mexico to obtain Ex-Im Bank financing for a $50,000 order from my employer. If more of Indiana’s manufacturers were even aware of Ex-Im, they could create even more jobs. As a member of Indiana’s District Export Council, I am among those whom Indiana’s SMEs can contact for free advice about exporting. For American companies, Ex-Im is a free program, of which more Indiana companies should take advantage.
Each state has at least one DEC, whose members are appointed by the U.S. secretary of commerce. As volunteers, we work closely with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Export Assistance centers, as well as with their state-level counterparts.
The good news is that the Pence administration is gradually reviving export promotion by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, thanks to Indiana Secretary of Commerce Victor Smith and IEDC President Eric Doden, both of whom I have met regarding promotion of Indiana manufactured products overseas.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, jobs with companies that export pay an average of 6 percent more than jobs with companies that do not export.
In addition, companies that export can help stem the tide of Indiana’s brain-drain by providing jobs for former military linguists, seasonal jobs for foreign language teachers (whose skills are worth more than schools can afford to pay them), and other professional jobs.
If Ex-Im ceases to exist after Sept. 30, then our nation’s trade deficit will widen even more. This is because almost all other industrialized nations subsidize their equivalents to Ex-Im, but with their citizens’ taxes. Therefore, this would make it easier for other countries to buy their products, rather than American-made products.
While they are still home on their summer congressional recess, please urge Sen. Coats and Sen. Donnelly and your U.S. representative to vote to renew the Ex-Im Bank, in order to create more jobs in Indiana.