Govs. Jay Inslee (D-WA), Robert Bentley (R-AL) and a bipartisan majority of the nation’s governors sent a letter today to congressional leaders to urge the long-term reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank. Last year, Congress approved a short-term extension of the Ex-Im Bank’s charter until June 30, 2015, following a similar call from governors, businesses, and other supporters.
“The Ex-Im Bank is a vital tool that has assisted hundreds of Washington state companies, large and small - from agriculture and aerospace to electronics and winemaking. The Bank allows these companies to export their products, grow their businesses and supports tens of thousands of jobs,” said Inslee. “Congress must prioritize swift action to reauthorize the Bank before its charter expires. Inaction will cause harm to Washington’s economy and potentially mean the loss of jobs.”
The governors wrote that “the Ex-Im Bank is a crucial tool that both small and large businesses use to compete fairly in the world market, increase their exports, stimulate job creation, and contribute to the growth of our states’ economies… Failure to act will place American industries at a significant disadvantage in the global marketplace and harm businesses in our states. We strongly encourage you to pass a long-term reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.”
The Ex-Im Bank is the official credit export agency of the United States, charged with assisting in financing the export of American goods and services. More than 90 percent of U.S. exports are privately financed. But in many cases private lenders are unable or unwilling to take on credit risks or enter unfamiliar markets. In those cases, Ex-Im can provide loans, loan guarantees, or insurance to worthy businesses to promote exports and assist growth.
In 2014 alone, Ex-Im financed approximately $27 billion in exports and supported approximately 160,000 American jobs. The governors noted that financing from the bank allows American businesses to compete fairly against foreign competitors who receive trade financing from their national export credit agencies.
In addition to the 28 governors who signed the Bentley-Inslee letter, governors and state leaders from at least three other states have recently written individual letters to congressional leaders requesting action to reauthorize the bank, bringing the number of governors publicly supporting reauthorization to more than thirty.