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White House’s NEI seeks more Ex-Im Bank focus

White HouseÆs NEI seeks more Ex-Im Bank focus

   The Coalition for Employment Through Exports (CEE) praised the White House's National Export Initiative Report to the President, released Thursday, for recognizing the Export-Import Bank for its role in financing U.S. exporters.

   CEE, based in Washington, also noted the report increases competition from export credit agencies that operate outside of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development guidelines. These ECAs support export volumes substantially in excess of those backed by the Export-Import Bank. The coalition also supported the need for the U.S. government and the OECD to engage with those countries.

   Under NEI, which was announced earlier this year, the Obama administration wants to double U.S. exports in the next five years.

   However, CEE expressed concern that the report does not mention key Ex-Im Bank policy elements that must be addressed if U.S. exporters are to have access to fully competitive financing.

   'Many of the other OECD ECAs operate with a flexibility that Ex-Im Bank is unable to replicate due to outside pressures, as well as culture,' said CEE President John Hardy Jr. 'The staff at Ex-Im Bank does a good job of exploring all the ways they are able to finance a complicated deal with the tools available, but they often run into policies put in place by Congress and the administration that hamstring them from successfully competing. The end result is lost opportunities and fewer U.S. jobs and exports.'

   Hardy said that for NEI to be truly effective, the White House must help Ex-Im Bank address policy issues, including Maritime Administration shipping requirements, content, economic impact and Tied Aid.

   'The time for addressing these issues is now, as the Ex-Im Bank's charter is set to be reauthorized in 2011,' Hardy said. 'For that effort to be effective, the administration and the Congress need to address these issues aggressively and enable Ex-Im Bank to compete on a level playing field.    While these policies may have made sense when put into place, the economic reality is such that they put in jeopardy U.S. job creation and hinder our economic growth.' ' Chris Gillis

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