By Sherrod Brown
For small and mid-sized businesses, securing the private financing needed to export their products can be difficult. To assist these companies, and allow them to expand and create jobs in the United States, the federal Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) offers loans, guarantees, and insurance. The bank, which operates at no cost to taxpayers, has provided financing for more than 250 Ohio businesses since 2007, supporting $2 billion worth of exports. The Ex-Im Bank’s authorization, however, is set to expire on September 30, threatening Ohio companies’ exports and putting 205,000 U.S. jobs at risk.
Congress must reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank to ensure that Ohio companies, like LION in Dayton – the largest provider of personal protective equipment for fire fighter in the world – can turn export opportunities into sales.
American companies – especially small businesses – need support now more than ever. Last year, we faced a record trade deficit with China of $318 billion, up from $315 billion in 2012. China’s own export credit agency, the Export-Import and Development Bank, provided more than $100 billion in export credits to Chinese companies compared to the $37.4 billion in export credits that the U.S. Ex-Im Bank provides. Without the reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank, the discrepancy will be even larger, disadvantaging American businesses. The Ex-Im Bank helps to level the playing field for our workers and businesses, making it easier for them to compete globally.
The Ex-Im Bank has been reauthorized 16 times since the agency was established in 1934 because it’s a common sense solution that works. Not only does the bank support American companies but it also generates revenue for the U.S. Treasury – $1 billion in fiscal year 2013 alone. The Bank’s reauthorization – which is supported by the business community including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers – is about keeping our nation’s companies competitive and should be done without partisan politics.
Congress must act to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank before the September 30 deadline so business owners can focus on exporting their products instead of worrying about their financing.
Sherrod Brown is a United States Senator from Ohio.