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Export-Import Bank Annual Conference Highlights U.S. Export Growth, Need for Financing

Friday, April 13, 2012

(Ex-Im Bank)  New Export Data Announced, President Clinton Calls for Ex-Im’s Reauthorization

Washington, D.C. – The significance of U.S. export growth to America’s economy and the need for continued availability of export financing were key themes highlighted at the 37th annual conference of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), held in Washington, D.C., April 12-13.

Ex-Im Bank announced new trade figures showing that U.S. exports reached more than $181.2 billion in February 2012, according to data released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the Commerce Department. Over the last 12 months, exports totaled more than $2.1 trillion – nearly 35.5 percent above the level of exports in 2009.

U.S. exports have been growing at an annualized rate of 15 percent, the growth rate required to meet President Obama’s goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015.

Ex-Im’s two-day conference, entitled “Ex-Im Bank –Your Competitive Edge,” drew more than 1,200 participants from 40 countries and featured keynote speeches and panel presentations by world business, finance and political leaders.

President Bill Clinton, founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation and the 42nd president of the United States, gave the keynote address on Thursday, April 12, focusing on the critical role of trade in global development. He also called for Ex-Im’s congressional reauthorization and an increase in the Bank’s exposure cap.

“If America wants to lead the world in shared prosperity, a key component must be to increase employment in the tradable sector,” said President Clinton, who also addressed Ex-Im’s annual conference in 1993 while in office. “There is a whole raft of studies that show that Americans who work in the tradable sector of the economy are not only likely to get jobs with higher starting pay but also pay that increases with the growth of the companies.”

The former president also commented on the role of Ex-Im Bank in helping U.S. exporters compete with foreign companies supported by their governments. “As a practical matter, when you are on a field in a competition, you either meet the competition or you get beat. Unilateral disarmament is not a very good recipe for success,” Clinton noted. “If you are here from the USA, I urge you to ask the Congress to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank at the higher level.”

Conference presenters on Friday, April 13, included Commerce Secretary John Bryson, Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel and Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. A full list of participants at Friday’s conference session is available online at Conference highlights are also available online.

Ex-Im Bank Chairman Fred P. Hochberg told conference attendees that Ex-Im Bank and the U.S. Maritime Administration have worked out a new agreement that will make it easier for U.S. exporters benefiting from the Bank’s buyer financing for large transactions to meet U.S.-flagged shipping requirements.

Ex-Im Bank also announced its initial transaction under Global Credit Express, the Bank’s first direct loan product for small businesses. The pilot program features a 12- month line of credit up to $500,000 for eligible exporters. Last week, the Bank approved a $200,000 loan to JCA International Corp., in Carlsbad, Calif., a small-business importer and exporter of frozen fruits and vegetables.

In addition, a new special "Business Speed Networking" session brought together foreign buyers and American sellers for one-on-one introductory meetings aimed to facilitate deal-making.