A small band of free-trade zealots is trying to hobble the Export-Import Bank, and in the process making President Trump’s campaign to restore U.S. competitiveness even harder. Ex-Im, as it is often called, is the official export credit agency of the U.S. government. Its main mission is to help customers for U.S. exports arrange financing, and because it charges a fee for that service, it doesn’t cost taxpayers a cent. Every other major trading nation has an organization like Ex-Im, and some of them (like China’s) are very aggressive in promoting home-state exports. Even though Ex-Im typically works through private-sector lenders, the critics say it is a market distortion that passes out subsidies to the favored few. In reality, though, thousands of small and medium-size U.S. companies benefit from the bank’s programs, and even when the customers are buying from big companies like Boeing, much of the money generated by deals passes through to small companies in their supply chains. Ex-Im’s critics need to get on board the Trump train and leave their anti-competitive ideology behind. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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