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Last week, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross expressed the need for a mechanism to support financing for U.S. exporters, namely to bolster small-business exports, during an interview on CNBC. Amid ongoing limitations facing the Export-Import Bank of the U.S., Ross’ comments signal that the administration understands the challenge of financing exporters face.
The charter authorizing Ex-Im Bank was extended through 2019, however, the bank has been hamstrung in approving deals given the fact the Board only has two members, one shy of the needed three-person quorum to approve loans or guarantees above $10 million. There currently are three open positions on the five-person Board. Lawmakers opposed to Ex-Im Bank have refused to confirm presidential nominees to serve on the bank Board.
During the interview, Ross stated: “Finance is clearly one of the mechanisms for international competition. So, maybe there are some things in Ex-Im that can be fixed, maybe a different mechanism is needed. What I hope whatever comes out of it will do, is to help small businesses more.”
NSBA has been an outspoken supporter of Ex-Im Bank. The prospect of getting financing as an average small business is very difficult and exponentially more so when dealing with foreign buyers as an exporter. Ex-Im Bank is a self-sustaining, independent federal agency that supports and maintains U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers. The Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms, including working capital guarantees and export credit insurance, to promote the sale of U.S. goods and services abroad. Almost 90 percent of its transactions directly serve American small businesses.
Please click here for NSBA’s detailed policy paper on Ex-Im Bank.