If Congress does not vote to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank by June 30, America’s sole export credit agency will cease operating — at a time when other countries such as China and South Korea are stepping up their own assistance to exporters (China’s export aid is up over 800% since 2005). One of the issues that tends to get lost in this debate is how many small businesses benefit from Ex-Im financing. They don’t get subsidies — the money has to be paid back with interest — but they get credit that private-sector lenders often are unwilling to provide. In 2014, as in 2013, about 90% of all Ex-Im transactions were in support of small business. A total of 3,347 small businesses used Ex-Im credit facilities last year to export $10.7 billion in U.S.-made goods and services. That’s 39% of all the exports by dollar value that Ex-Im supported. And it doesn’t even count the thousands of small businesses that benefit whenever Ex-Im helps Boeing or Caterpillar or General Electric to sell U.S.-made capital goods abroad. Ex-Im’s services don’t cost taxpayers a cent because the agency covers all its costs with fees charged to users, but they sustain tens of thousands of jobs in the export sector — many at small businesses. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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