Rubin and Weber: Re-Authorize Export-Import Bank

Mar 28, 2012

Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and former Congressman Vin Weber take to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to ask Congress to re-authorize the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) and expand its lending ability. They argue that export growth requires more Ex-Im lending ability :

Over the last two years, U.S. exports have grown annually at 15.6%. At this rate exports are on track to double within five years. That's an economic accomplishment both parties can be proud of. Despite that good news, within the next 90 days Ex-Im will likely reach its $100 billion loan portfolio cap and will have its current authorization expire. Should that happen, Ex-Im will no longer be able to finance U.S. exporters.

Rubin and Weber argue that Ex-Im keeps American companies of all sizes on a level playing field with global competitors:

The large companies that use Ex-Im financing—Boeing, GE, Caterpillar and others—compete in a global marketplace in which foreign companies and their governments systematically use export credit financing. In practice, a Chinese locomotive company can offer government export financing to international buyers, which makes their trains less expensive in foreign markets such as Pakistan. When an American company, such as GE, is competing for that locomotive sale it ought to be able to provide comparable financing for its locomotives. Such policies ensure a level playing field for American companies in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.

Small and medium-size companies seeking international sales face even greater export challenges. Last year alone, the Export-Import Bank supported $6 billion in loans to small businesses, accounting for 87% of Ex-Im transactions.

They conclude, "A government agency that increases U.S. jobs, pays for itself, and earns money for the Treasury is surely worthy of strong, bipartisan support."

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