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Merrill: Ex-Im Bank meeting president’s national export strategy

Merrill: Ex-Im Bank meeting president’s national export strategy

   After a massive reorganization last year, U.S. Export-Import Bank chief Philip Merrill told a Senate committee May 21 that his agency is on target with the president’s national export strategy.

   The Ex-Im Bank provides financing to counter the effect of export credit financing from other governments, or by taking reasonable credit risks that the private sector financial institutions are unwilling or unable to accept. In fiscal year 2002, the bank financed 2,516 transactions in support of $12.9 billion in U.S. exports.

   In May 2002, the Bush administration issued its first National Export Strategy Report. The report’s key recommendations are:

   * Joint marketing, training and small business initiatives.

   * Early project development.

   * “Tied” and “Untied” aid.

   The Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee provides interagency coordination to meet the objectives of the national export strategy.

   “In short, the TPCC strives to make it easier for U.S. businesses to understand and utilize the U.S. government’s export promotion programs,” Merrill told the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

   “The recommendations put forward in last year’s TPCC report were developed after in-depth discussions with our customers,” he said. “The recommendations contained in this report are practical solutions to problems that encumber U.S. export potential.”

   The TPCC’s work in the joint marketing area is particularly helpful to small and new exporters. “Our marketing objective is straightforward: To establish a direct relationship between the U.S. exporter and U.S. government trade agencies in a coordinated and cost-effective manner,” Merrill said.

   The goal of the early project development initiative is to coordinate the efforts of federal trade agencies to secure contracts for U.S. exporters. Merrill said the initiative is focused on export contracts to Mexico, China and Russia. “We plan to broaden our focus to other target markets at the appropriate time,” he said.

   In 2002, the TPCC started several initiatives to counter foreign aid practices that place U.S. exporters at a competitive disadvantage. They are:

   * Mixed credit initiative.

   * Agreement on front end engineering and design.

   * Tied aid war chest.

   The Ex-Im Bank will also help to support U.S. exports to Iraq. The bank has created an internal task force that is working to address the legal and credit concerns that impede its ability to provide trade finance programs to Iraq.

   “I am encouraged by the strides we have made over the past year through the TPCC,” Merrill said. “Continued implementation of the recommendations of the national export strategy through the coordinated efforts of the TPCC will help to insure that U.S. exporters have the tools that they need to remain competitive in the dynamic global marketplace.”

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