Unlike export-credit agencies in other countries, the U.S. Export-Import Bank does not finance overseas sales of military items. However, its loan and insurance programs nonetheless have important benefits for national security. First, they sustain domestic industrial skills useful in both commercial and industrial production. Second, they help military contractors with commercial business lines to weather downturns in defense demand. Third, they strengthen subcontractors and suppliers who play a vital part in the defense supply chain. Fourth, they help preserve secure domestic sources for cutting-edge commercial technologies with potential military applications. Fifth, they insulate the nation’s industrial economy — what FDR labeled the “arsenal of democracy” — from the predatory behavior of unfair traders. I have written a commentary for Forbes elaborating on these points that you can read here.
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