National District Export Council

Working for America's Exporters™

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Our web site is constantly undergoing improvements and updates that makes it easier for you to find the information you need about us and our activities including our members, committees, events, and other important information. Our updates include listings of local DEC events from around the country and links to other trade information resources. Take a moment to look around and explore our web site, including our About page if you are a first time visitor. You can also click on the DEC Locator to find the District Export Council in your area. The mission of the National DEC includes Working for America's Exporters. Our web site is a critical part of that mission.

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TTIP and the SME Sector

BRUSSELS (September 11, 2014)
Parliamentarians, advisors and stakeholders throughout the trans-Atlantic community delved into the potential impact of a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) on small- and medium-sized businesses at a gathering at the European Parliament (EP). The event, "Business of All Shapes and Sizes", was hosted by the Bertelsmann Foundation and the US mission to the EU.
Business Europe's Luisa Santos and National District Export Council's Daniel Ogden speak of export opportunities for small businesses at a panel discussion in the European Parliament.
Speakers were US and European experts on the small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector. National District Export Council Chairman Emeritus Daniel Ogden, Kentucky Department of Agriculture Export Advisor Jonathan Van Balen and US diplomat Tom Roett gave the American point of view. BusinessEurope Director of International Affairs Luisa Santos and European Association of Craft, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises Director of External Relations Luc Hendrickx provided the European perspective. MEP Andreas Schwab from the committee on internal markets and consumer protection opened the discussion. Henning vom Stein, head of the Foundation's Brussels office, moderated the discussion.
The event spotlighted an important sector ― approximately 90 percent of US and European businesses are categorized as small- and medium-sized ― that stands to be significantly impacted by any TTIP agreement. The focus of the conversation was the need to balance eliminating red tape and unnecessary regulation that discourages exports with maintaining high health and safety standards.
Ms Santos illustrated the challenge by speaking about a small European business interested in exporting T-shirts to the US. Different requirements for labeling washing instructions, however, frustrated those plans. Other panelists noted that if mutual recognition of aircraft-safety standards could be agreed, surely the same was possible for directions for washing T-shirts.
The event also focused on criticism of TTIP and the negotiations for an agreement. Lack of transparency, market access for genetically modified organisms and the proper mechanism for resolving investor-state disputes were widely discussed.
This panel was part of an ongoing “Washington 101” series of events aimed at improving understanding of current trans-Atlantic issues and cultivating closer US-EU ties.


California Inland Empire DEC Member Receives Presidential Recognition of her Company for Using Export-Import Bank Financing

Kusum Kavia, a member of the California Inland Empire DEC, recently received a Presidential recognition of her company, Combustion Associates, Inc., for using the U.S. Export-Import Bank financing in support of a major export sale. To view the video where this recognition was made, please click CAI Video.

2014 DEC National Conference

The National DEC will host the annual National Conference of the DECs in Washington, D.C. on October 2-3, 2014. The annual Conference will consist of two events - the 2014 National DEC Forum on October 2 and the Second Annual International Trade Symposium on October 3.
The title of the 2014 National DEC Forum is "Roadmap for Success". The Forum will consist of three broad themes- 1. DEC Mission Statements and Goal Setting; 2. DEC Website and Social Media Utilization; and 3. Driving Results – Utilizing DEC Committees. These themes were chosen based upon a nationwide survey conducted of DEC Chairs in which DEC Chairs were asked to select the topics they considered to be most important for the success of their DECs. The Forum will include a general overview of these themes and then will break into three individual tracks in which all attendees will participate. As in years past, the Forum has also been designed to engender substantial attendee participation. The Forum is open only to DEC members and associates and is also closed to the media. Following the conclusion of the Forum an evening reception will be held which can be used for networking and which will also be open to invited guests of DEC members. For more information and to register or view the agenda, see 2014 National DEC Forum.
The Second Annual International Trade Symposium, sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Symposium will focus on current trade promotion initiatives including Trade Promotion Authority, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, other pertinent trade initiatives. The Symposium will also examine the current state of foreign non-tariff barriers and market access issues such as standard, intellectual property protection and regulatory barriers. Also invited to participate will be keynote remarks from the Chairman of the U.S. Export-Import Bank and the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. The International Trade Symposium, which will be held at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is open to the public. For more information and toregister or view the agenda, see Second Annual International Trade Symposium.

Boehner Squeezed by Home-State Exporters Over Ex-Im Bank

By Laura Litvan and Brian Wingfield
Bloomberg News
Published: July 23, 2014 10:43 AM
House Speaker John Boehner is getting pressure to reauthorize the U.S. Export-Import Bank from a lobby that’s hard to ignore: manufacturers in and around his southwestern Ohio district that rely on the bank to finance overseas sales. About 200 Ohio companies have been urged to contact Boehner, and a General Electric Co. (GE) aviation subsidiary with 1,000 employees living in his district is lobbying him, all pushing him to oppose members of his party who want to shut the bank when its charter expires Sept. 30.
“We think it’s an issue that deserves to be voted on, and the efforts to block it are very disturbing to us,” said Thomas Norwalk, vice chairman of the Southern Ohio District Export Council in Dayton, which is coordinating a last-ditch letter-writing campaign to Boehner from small exporters.

The Congress has 17 scheduled work days before the bank’s lending ability runs out.
The Republican speaker has supported the bank in the past and hasn’t committed either way this year, even as other top Republicans including Majority Leader-elect Kevin McCarthy of California have joined the effort to end it. If a compromise is struck to save the bank, Boehner’s support will be necessary to guide it through the chamber.
The 80-year-old bank founded during the New Deal helps foreign companies buy U.S. goods by guaranteeing loans and providing other financing. The bank last year backed $37.4 billion in exports, and says it has returned a profit to the Treasury of more than $3.4 billion since 2005.
Ohio manufacturers are top users of Ex-Im Bank financing. From 2007 to 2014, Ohio ranked sixth for exporters who have used the bank to help finance their overseas sales, with 253 Buckeye State businesses making use of its services to support $2 billion in exports, according to data from the bank. Ten small-business exporters located inside Boehner’s district received help from the bank since 2007, bank data show.
“He could be a champion for this,” said Jody Milanese, vice president of government affairs at the National Small Business Association, which has 2,000 exporters among its members. “He certainly plays a central role as speaker and we hope he brings his members together on this issue and works with Senate Democrats.”
Opposition took shape after Republicans won control of the House in 2010, bringing in a wave of freshmen backed by the small-government Tea Party movement. The effort gained momentum last year when Republican Jeb Hensarling of Texas took over the Financial Services Committee, which controls legislation tied to the bank and said it should lapse. “Who benefits? Overwhelmingly and indisputably it’s some of the largest, richest, most politically connected corporations in the world -- like Boeing, General Electric, Bechtel and Caterpillar,” Hensarling said at a June hearing.
When the bank was reauthorized for two years in 2012, it was after months of debate. President Barack Obama signed the measure a day before the bank’s charter was scheduled to lapse.
The bank is confronting an onslaught from conservative groups and some House Republicans who say it’s a form of corporate welfare and should be axed. The bank’s support for U.S. exports last year benefited businesses like Boeing Co. (BA) of Chicago and Hartzell Propellers Inc. of Piqua, Ohio.
The top Ohio exporter using the bank is GE and its GE Aviation subsidiary, which has headquarters in the Cincinnati suburb of Evendale just outside Boehner’s district. GE’s Ohio operations saw $474 million in exports supported by the Ex-Im bank over the seven-year stretch. Of 10,000 workers at GE Aviation, about 1/10th are Boehner constituents, said Rick Kennedy, a company spokesman.
The subsidiary is reaching out to all Ohio lawmakers in its lobbying, but has a long-standing relationship with Boehner and hopes his understanding of their export business keeps him on the side of a reauthorization, Kennedy said. Of about $22 billion in aviation revenue last year, he said, about 55 percent was from international sales and Ex-Im financing helped on many deals. “Boehner understands our business model, let’s put it that way,” Kennedy said. “He certainly understands the model and how important exports have been for this whole region in southern Ohio.”
According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, GE’s political action committee and individuals who work for the company gave $30,850 to Boehner’s re-election committee and his leadership PAC in the 2012 election cycle, and $32,200 for the 2010 elections. The company has about 135,000 U.S. employees.
The partisan infighting over the bank’s future has some small exporters in Boehner’s Ohio district worried and reaching out to the speaker to back the bank.
At one of those companies, Fluid Quip Inc. in Springfield, executives say the Export-Import Bank is responsible for about a quarter of its $20 million in revenue and is aiding a fast expansion of overseas sales. Field Quip, which makes separation and grinding equipment for milling, needs Ex-Im loan guarantees so it can spend cash downpayments from overseas purchases to start work on orders, said President Andy Franko. The bank is very important to us, it makes a big difference,” said Franko, who wrote a letter to the speaker urging him to keep the bank operating. “He’s supposed to be the leader, so he has a lot of power in deciding this.”
Doug Buckner, president of a Fairfield, Ohio, firm that makes centrifuges for sugar refining, said the lack of an endorsement from Boehner is puzzling. Boehner has been a backer of the bank since he came to Congress in 1991. “We need this in our toolkit,” said Buckner, who said his 65-employee Western States Machine Co. has benefited from Ex-Im financing for sales to Latin America and Asia. “I can’t believe that they’re even considering not doing this.”
Lawmakers have 17 days in session to before the charter expires, due to a five-week recess that begins Aug. 1. The Obama administration is seeking a five-year reauthorization and a gradual increase in the bank’s lending cap, to $160 billion from $140 billion.
Last month, the drive to close the bank got a fresh ally when McCarthy, just elected to the party’s No. 2 job in the House, made clear he was joining some other powerful Republican foes of the bank, including Hensarling and Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the Budget Committee chairman and 2012 vice presidential nominee.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, a California Republican, last week began an investigation into allegations of corruption at the bank.
Boehner, on the other hand, has been more guarded. In comments to reporters late last month, he noted that the bank was originally created to give “equity” to U.S. manufacturers who lacked the advantages of foreign competitors with access to government financing help, while also noting the bank is increasingly controversial with many in his rank and file. While he’s urging Hensarling to lead discussions about possible solutions, he also described himself as a “facilitator” of a final outcome.
“Listen, as the guy who’s the facilitator of trying to get to a discussion to get to an outcome, I think laying my cards on the table tilts the balance,” Boehner told reporters on June 25. “I don’t want to do that. I want to get our members to a place where they are comfortable, whatever that is.” Michael Steel, Boehner’s spokesman, didn’t respond to a request to elaborate on the speaker’s views for this story.
Ohio’s Republican senator, Rob Portman, said at a July 10 meeting with Bloomberg reporters and editors that he would back a reauthorization of the bank but only with some changes in its operations such as greater accountability. Of Boehner, Portman said, “I assume he’d like to see some reforms, and I think we can get some good reforms.”
Opponents of the bank say they’re increasingly confident that Boehner will side with his top lieutenants. “Certainly the speaker has a role in the debate, but his majority leader is against it, his financial services committee chairman is against it, and his budget committee chairman is against it,” said Dan Holler, a spokesman for Heritage Action, a group aligned with the conservative Heritage Foundation. “We are about two-and-a-half months from seeing the bank’s charter expire.”
In a drive to prevent that, business groups led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers are combing Capitol Hill, focusing on leaders like Boehner and McCarthy and even freshman Republicans who didn’t vote on the 2012 reauthorization, said Chris Wenk, a trade lobbyist with the Chamber. The “end game” in the debate will play out in September, Wenk and other lobbyists say, and one possibility is to try to attach the reauthorization to a must-pass stop-gap measure that would extend government spending authority past the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year.
That, and just about any other approach to reauthorizing the bank, would require Boehner’s cooperation. And whether he’d do that, he doesn’t seem to be letting on back home in Ohio.
Boehner came by for a tour last spring of Kaivac Inc. in Hamilton. Mark Ferguson, international development manager at the cleaning products maker, said he and other executives explained how the company’s sales have doubled each of the past two years with help from the bank, expanding into the U.K., Poland and other markets. Boehner, he said, was noncommittal. “He just basically said he was aware of the situation and he is doing what he can to make sure resources are available to small manufacturers, but he didn’t really give any kind of commitment one way or the other on the Export-Import Bank,” Ferguson said.

DEC Member Speaks Out Regarding U.S. Export-Import Bank

Critics Wrong that Ex-Im Bank Only Benefits Big Companies
By David Ickert
The Dallas Morning News
Published: June 8, 2014
The Dallas Morning News recently editorialized about the increasingly fierce debate about the Export-Import Bank, which encourages U.S. exports by facilitating financing for foreign buyers of American-made products. The fight against the bank has been focused on big companies, and among those leading the charge is Dallas Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling, who is making headlines by working to eliminate one of the nation’s most productive tools for generating exports.
The conflict as cast misses the point: Critics of the Ex-Im Bank who suggest it benefits only large corporations are just flat-out wrong. Our company, Air Tractor, has manufactured agriculture aircraft in the West Texas town of Olney for more than 40 years, and we export our products to scores of countries on six continents. The Ex-Im Bank is critical to our business and our ability to create and sustain jobs. Air Tractor is owned by its 265 employees, who would suffer dramatically if Congress fails to re-authorize the Ex-Im Bank.
Air Tractor is one of more than 1,000 companies of all sizes in Texas that benefit from the Ex-Im Bank, which bolsters domestic exports without costing taxpayers a dime. Last year the bank set a new record by approving more than 3,400 small business transactions, which amounted to 90 percent of the bank’s total transactions.
Since the nation’s financial crisis, the Ex-Im Bank has helped Texas companies finance $19 billion in exports. More than half of these exporters were small businesses. On top of that, the Ex-Im Bank reduced our national deficit by generating about $1.1 billion for taxpayers in 2013 from fees and services.
U.S. exports matter — a lot. Since 2009, exports have added 1.6 million jobs to the economy, and exports grew faster during the last quarter of 2013 than any time in the last three years. Texas accounts for nearly 18 percent of the nation’s exports and has been the top exporting state for 12 consecutive years. Roughly one quarter of Texas manufacturing jobs depends on exports, and Texas had $279.7 billion in exports last year, outpacing national export growth. Export credit has never been more important to Texas.
The Ex-Im Bank provides secure government-backed transactions so job-creating sales can move forward. Nationwide, the Ex-Im Bank supported $37.4 billion in U.S. exports and 205,000 jobs in 2013. Texas companies, large and small, that manufacture everything from food products to fabricated metal and commercial aircraft to high-tech and energy-related equipment, all benefit from the Ex-Im Bank.
Some have raised concerns that the Ex-Im Bank “picks winners and losers” because it supports exports, not domestic sales. But critics ignore the fact that all other major exporting countries have their own export credit agencies to finance export transactions, with some governments providing significantly more export credit than the United States to encourage their country’s exports. With regard to “winners and losers,” without the Ex-Im Bank, foreign companies will win and American companies will lose.
Opposition to theEx-Im Bank is out of touch with the critical role the bank plays for companies like Air Tractor. The bank operates under strict rules and congressional oversight, never competing with commercial lenders and never approving financing without safeguards that ensure taxpayer money is protected. As a result, the bank has a lower default rate than most commercial banks.
Congress’ top priorities should be expanding trade opportunities, creating jobs and balancing our books. Restricting the Ex-Im Bank would hurt our country on all three fronts. I take exception to the notion that opponents of the Ex-Im Bank are somehow standing up for “the little guy.” With all due respect, Air Tractor is no Ford, no GE, no Boeing. We are Main Street in Olney, Texas. Without the Ex-Im Bank, our ability to compete globally will diminish, alongside many other Texas companies just like us.
David Ickert is Vice President of finance for Air Tractor Inc., based in Olney and a member of the North Texas District Export Council.

North Texas DEC Member is Presented the President's E Star Award

North Texas DEC Member Nate Muncaster, on behalf of Polyguard Products, was presented the President's E Star Award by Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. This award was given to Polyguard Products in recognition of its noteworthy export promotion efforts. E Star Awards are only given to previous recipients of the President's E Award and E Star Award applicants must show at least four years of successive export growth since winning the “E” Award. For more information on the E Star Award, please visit

California DECs Meet in Sacramento

Members of the four California DECs recently met in Sacramento on May 20, 2014, to welcome Roy Paulson, National DEC Chair, for several international trade-related activities and events.​ Attendees included National DEC Member Susanne Stirling, National DEC Associate Member Deep SenGupta, Northern Califonia DEC Chair Janice Cooper, Southern California DEC Vice Chair Donald Sovie, San Diego/Imperial Valley DEC Chair Bo Reed, and California Inland Empire DEC Chair Rick Gibbs

Reagan’s Ex-Im Bank Reforms Still Paying Dividends: The Lender That Reaped $1 billion in 2013 Deserves Reauthorization

The Washington Times
By George Allen
Published: Thursday, May 22, 2014

President Reagan was one of our country’s greatest leaders because he valued fair opportunities for the American people over political manipulations that waste taxpayer money.
The “Great Communicator” listened and connected with Americans and then acted in the best interest of our nation. This is why Reagan and presidents from both parties have shown strong support for the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank. The Ex-Im Bank’s charter has been reauthorized every term since its inception in 1934.
However, I won’t claim that the Ex-Im Bank has always been a flawless federal agency. In fact, Reagan was a scrutinizing supporter. From the start, he called for major reforms and instilled discipline and budget transparency. Limits were imposed upon the Ex-Im Bank, and subsidies were significantly cut. Those changes have helped to make the Ex-Im Bank self-sustaining today. The Ex-Im Bank not only does not receive or need taxpayer subsidies, but it also turned a $1 billion profit in 2013.
Working with Congress, Reagan fought for structural changes that eventually made the Ex-Im Bank a stronger and more fiscally sound institution. Years later, he reaffirmed his support for its mission to help American workers and families, small businesses and manufacturers and taxpayers, while growing and strengthening the U.S. economy.
On the Ex-Im Bank’s 50th anniversary in 1984, Reagan signed a letter praising the agency for its accomplishments, declaring the United States the greatest trading nation in the world owing to a combination of talented Americans and a free-enterprise economy. However, he also noted, “We must all work together to encourage a greater competitive spirit on the part of American companies as we seek to meet the challenges of exporting today and in the years ahead.”
Today, providing U.S. companies with the ability to compete on a level playing field is more important than ever before. Challenges continue to increase for American exporters, as they fight for business in a global marketplace that is increasingly more competitive. In the 1980s, our economic competitors were only Taiwan, Japan and a few Western European countries. Currently, at least 59 countries have official export-credit agencies that provide competitors with aggressive support, from development funding to export financing. Some foreign governments choose not to comply with global trade norms, providing massive subsidies to their own companies.
However, the Ex-Im Bank takes a different approach. Ex-Im complements, rather than competes with, private-sector lenders by offering loan guarantees that enable foreign buyers of U.S. goods to secure reasonable private-sector financing. Also, Ex-Im’s export-credit insurance reduces the commercial and political risks of exporting overseas for small businesses and manufacturers. Nearly 90 percent of Ex-Im’s transactions benefited small businesses in 2013. Without export financing or insurance, small- and medium-sized exporters face an overwhelming disadvantage compared with their global counterparts.
While high-quality U.S. products are in demand around the world, this doesn’t necessarily ensure American exporters have a competitive edge. Uncertainty around the reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank’s charter every two years is a serious disincentive for foreign investors. Just ask FirmGreen, a small alternative-energy company whose innovative products are in high demand overseas. The manufacturer recently lost a $57 million contract to a South Korean competitor because the uncertainty surrounding the reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank was deemed not worth the risk of working with a U.S.-based firm.
The bottom line is that the Ex-Im Bank is crucial to U.S. competitiveness, American jobs and our economy. It is a vital tool to ensure companies — especially small businesses — have access to the financing they need to make international sales. In 2013, the Ex-Im Bank helped to facilitate more than $37 billion in U.S. exports, which, in turn, supported 205,000 American jobs.
To top off the impressive benefits of the Ex-Im Bank, it operates with a net-zero appropriation from Congress. After paying its own operating expenses in 2013, the Ex-Im Bank earned enough in fees and interest to provide more than $1 billion in profit to the U.S. Treasury to reduce the U.S. deficit.
Over the past 80 years, American leaders have backed the Ex-Im Bank and, where needed, taken steps to reform and improve it because maintaining it is in our nation’s best interest. Long-term reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank should be a top priority for Congress. Let’s learn from President Reagan and encourage the competitive spirit of American companies by providing them the opportunity to export their products.
George Allen is a former governor and U.S. senator from Virginia. He is the Reagan Ranch Presidential Scholar for the Young America’s Foundation.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Thanks DECs and Discusses NEI/Next

The U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, recently commended the District Export Councils for their partnership with the U.S. Commercial Service and for the role they are playing in increasing U.S. exports. As the Secretary notes, "DEC members embody the spirit of civic engagement", and that the Department of Commerce, in its efforts to increase U.S. exports, "can rely on the support of a trusted and valued group of private sector leaders such as the DEC members."  To read the letter, click letter
Additionally, the Secretary also recently discussed the launch of the NEI/Next Initiative. To watch a video of her discussion, click video.

National DEC Members Meet With Congressional TPP Caucus

In conjunction with the National DEC Legislative Summit held in Washington, D.C. on April 27-28, National DEC members had the opportunity to meet with the congressional Trans-Pacific Partnership Caucus to discuss the potential impact of the TPP on their business. Pictured are National DEC members Roy Paulson, President of Paulson Manufacturing Corporation, a manufacturer and exporter of personal safety equipment; Richard Grana, President of Impex, a provider of export management services to conveyor accessories and bulk material equipment manufacturers; and Philip Pittsford, International Sales Manager of NOW International, a manufacturer and exporter of dietary supplement products.


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