By Myron Brilliant
Published: April 24, 2014
Two years ago this spring, large bipartisan majorities in Congress approved legislation reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im), which is hosting its annual conference beginning today. But time flies, and Ex-Im’s charter will expire in just over five months.
While some critics are seeking to re-open the debate over the bank, the facts show Ex-Im continues to play a critical role helping American companies compete in global markets.
Last year, Ex-Im supported export sales that sustained more than 200,000 American jobs at 3,400 companies. Ex-Im is especially important to small- and medium-sized businesses, which account for more than 85 percent of the bank’s transactions. Tens of thousands of smaller companies that supply goods and services to large exporters also benefit from Ex-Im’s activities.
Unilateral disarmament is rarely a good idea, but this is precisely what these critics are seeking in their effort to eliminate Ex-Im.
Take a quick survey of trade finance around the globe. Ex-Im is one of at least 60 official export credit agencies (ECAs) worldwide. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reports that these ECAs have extended more than $1 trillion in trade finance in recent years.