Port of Houston Authority: Ex-Im Bank Vital for Economy

 

February 2015

 

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The U.S. Export-Import Bank recently received strong support from the Port of Houston Authority and also got a boost from an annual report that spelled out the enormous benefits directly stemming from the agency.

 

The SIU and other maritime unions have pointed out the Export- Import Bank (often abbreviated as Ex-Im) is crucial for the U.S. Merchant Marine. It’s a steady source of good American jobs in the maritime industry (cargo generated by Ex-Im funding must be transported aboard U.S.-flag vessels) and in other sectors of the U.S. economy.

 

Following a short-term extension enacted by Congress last fall, the bank’s charter once again will be up for reauthorization in June.

 

In a Dec. 11 letter to U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and U.S. Representatives John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Nancy Pelosi (D-California), Port of Houston Authority Chairman Janiece Longoria noted, “Federal policies that increase and sustain trade are beneficial for jobs and the economy. The U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-lm Bank) provides important opportunities for domestic manufacturers and employers to compete internationally and ship American goods into the global economy. With the dynamic and uncertain global marketplace, it is vital for U.S. manufacturers to have reliable and multiple tools to compete effectively.

 

“According to the United States International Trade Administration, Houston led the nation in exports in 2012, and between 2005 and 2012 Houston exports increased more than 164 percent,” the letter continued. “The Ex-lm Bank plays a vital role in keeping the region globally competitive and is responsible for contributing $4 billion to total export sales in Texas in 2013. The value of foreign trade passing through the Houston region has doubled over the last decade.… More than 76 percent of all the Ex-lm Bank support in Texas for 2013 directly benefited the Houston region. These benefits are clear at the Port of Houston, which is the largest port in the U.S. for foreign tonnage, annually generating nearly $500 billion in economic activity and sustaining more than 2 million jobs in the United States.”

 

Longoria concluded, “There are significant benefits to trade and exports relating to the Ex-lm Bank, and the Port of Houston Authority respectfully requests your support for its reauthorization.”

 

SIU Vice President Gulf Coast Dean Corgey also serves on the Port of Houston Authority.

 

Meanwhile, a week after the letter from Longoria was sent, Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred Hochberg announced publication of the agency’s annual report. He described the bank as “a small agency that exists to equip U.S. businesses with the financing tools they need to overcome obstacles and open new markets for their goods and services. We know that when entrepreneurs are empowered to win export sales against their foreign competitors, businesses grow, our economy becomes more durable, and layoffs are replaced with ‘Now Hiring’ signs in communities across our country.”

 

He added that in 2014 (the program’s 80th anniversary), the bank supported 164,000 American jobs while approximately 90 percent of its transactions directly supported U.S. small businesses. It also supported $27.5 billion in exports at no cost to American taxpayers.

 

The Export-Import Bank was created in 1934 to promote the sale of American-made goods overseas. When it was chartered, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called for the bank to “aid in financing and to facilitate exports and imports and the exchange” of goods between the U.S. and the world during a period of economic distress.

 

As noted on its website, the bank continues to operate under those goals supporting U.S. manufacturers and exporters in times of economic crisis when limitations on commercial credit arise. It makes and guarantees loans in addition to offering credit insurance to fund American exports.

 

The SIU and other supporters have pointed out that the Export- Import Bank does not cost American taxpayers a cent. It covers its activities through the fees and interest charged for its services. In fact, it has returned money to the U.S. Treasury that has been used to reduce the national debt.

 


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