Lack of EXIM Financing Forces GE’s Hand
Industrial multi-national General Electric Co. has said it will move 500 U.S. power turbine manufacturing jobs to Europe and China.
The company, currently bidding on $11 billion worth of international power projects that require export credit agency financing, said its hand was forced after access to U.S. Export-Import Bank financing was cut off after Congress allowed the agency’s charter to lapse in June.
According to press reports, GE, the largest industrial conglomerate in the U.S., has said France’s COFACE export agency has agreed to support some of the company’s global power project bids with a new line of credit in exchange for moving production of heavy-duty gas turbines – and some 400 jobs – to a production facility in Belfort, France.
GE also said 100 additional jobs involved in packaging aero-derivative gas turbines will move next year from a plant outside of Houston, Texas, to facilities in Hungary and China.
Though GE has no plans to shutter its U.S. power turbine manufacturing operations entirely, the company’s facilities in Greenville, South Carolina; Schenectady, New York; and Bangor, Maine, will lose out on those jobs if it wins the foreign bids, the company said.
“If the EXIM bank were open, it would be business as usual,” said GE Vice Chairman John Rice in a press interview. “If you’re an export credit agency outside the U.S., you are now in the process of rolling out the red carpet to U.S. manufacturers. There are many other companies other than us that are impacted by this.”
GE, he added, “will soon announce agreements with other foreign export credit agencies to finance GE products. If EXIM isn’t going to happen, or it’s going to be a regular fight to be reauthorized, we’ve got to make other plans.”