Aerospace Industry Group Laud Exim Bank Reauthorization
The U.S. aerospace industry is hailing the recent passage by Congress of legislation that renews the operating authority of the Export-Import Bank (Exim) more than five months after that authority expired.
The dispute over preserving the export credit agency pitted aerospace and other manufacturers against opponents in Congress who accused the institution of “crony capitalism” and skewing free-market competition in favor of large companies such as Boeing.
Legislation providing for a four-year reauthorization of Exim was contained in a $305 billion highway and mass transit spending bill the House and Senate each passed by wide margins and signed into law by President Obama.
“This is the first time in 17 years that the House and Senate have come together to produce a transportation bill of this length and duration,” said Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) President and CEO David F. Melcher. “We are relieved and delighted that the bill served as a vehicle for a four-year reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States.”
Exim, “is a valuable tool supporting exports in the aerospace industry – the leading export industry in the U.S. manufacturing sector with a trade surplus of nearly $62 billion,” he said. “By reauthorizing the Bank, America is sending a clear signal that we are serious about competing in the global marketplace and will take the necessary steps to ensure American exporters have a level playing field.”
The Bank provides loan guarantees and other financing support to foreign buyers of U.S. products, including wide-body airliners manufactured by Boeing, its biggest beneficiary.
By reopening Exim, “Congress has taken strong action enabling American exporters and the skilled workers they employ to compete successfully in tough global markets,” said Boeing president and CEO Dennis Muilenburg.
Legislators, he added, “did the right thing for workers at companies large and small across the nation, including the 1.5 million workers at nearly 15,000 U.S. companies that help Boeing design, make and support America’s aerospace exports.”
The AIA’s Melcher did caution, though, that “one last item remains.”
For Exim to become fully functional again, “it needs to have the required number directors on its board to approve any transaction valued at more than $10 million,” he said. “Filling the other seats requires the cooperation of the U.S. Senate and the White House and we urge President Obama and Senate leadership to nominate and confirm new members to the Exim board expeditiously.”