The California Chamber of Commerce is urging members to ask California’s Congressional Delegation to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. As Congress returns to Washington, DC after their August recess, the Ex-Im Bank charter is set to expire on September 30.
In May 2019, a quorum was finally restored to the Ex-Im Bank after operating at limited capacity since July 2015, which limited the bank to approving transactions of $10 million or less, meaning numerous lost opportunities for U.S. businesses and their workers.
The CalChamber is asking members to follow its lead in sending letters to the California Congressional Delegation in support of reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank.
An overwhelming majority in Congress voted to fully reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank in December 2015. Nevertheless, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee stymied the bank’s full restoration by blocking action on nominees required to achieve a quorum for the Ex-Im Bank Board in 2016. The Ex-Im Bank remained without a quorum until May of this year.
The hundreds of workers at large businesses are not the only ones affected by lost U.S. export transactions; there are strong ripple effects on the many small and medium-sized enterprises throughout the larger companies’ supply chains. The United States is home to some of the largest supply chains in the world. Sales and employees in these supply chains depend on exports of larger clients, financed by Ex-Im. Uncertainty for large clients means diminished purchasing, which means fewer sales and has a direct impact on jobs in cities and towns across the country.
Effects on U.S. businesses and workers from a lack of domestic political support for Ex-Im are exacerbated by the extraordinary steps other countries are taking to support their own exporters and national interests. Export credit agencies (ECAs) abroad are expanding product offerings allowing exporters to compete more aggressively, and more countries are opening new ECAs of their own.
With economic growth and job creation the top priorities for the United States, Ex-Im has an important role to play.
Trade offers the opportunity to expand the role of California’s exports. As one of the top economies in the world with a gross state product of more than $2.7 trillion, California exported $178.4 billion to approximately 230 foreign markets in 2018.
Record of Success
Ex-Im has a proven record of success and turns a profit for the U.S. taxpayer. In the past ten years, Ex-Im has refunded approximately $5 billion to the U.S. Treasury above all costs and loss reserves.
In 2018 alone, Ex-Im Bank assisted approximately 190 California exporters, helping to support almost $1 billion in exports. Over the past 5 years, the Bank authorized $3 billion in financing to support $6 billion of California exports. Over this period, Ex-Im supported approximately 590 California exporters, 470 of which were small businesses, including 176 minority-owned and women-owned enterprises.
The U.S. Congress should reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank before any more harm is done to U.S. exporters and the workers they employ.
Staff Contact: Susanne Stirling