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COVID-19 Pandemic: EXIM Board Temporarily Restricting Export Support

…For Needed US Medical Supplies And Equipment

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By Cyber Era Correspondent

In order to protect the American people, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) Board of Directors has unanimously approved new temporary measures to help ensure the United States has medical supplies and equipment that are in short supply and necessary to combat and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic in the United States. This action took place during an open board meeting with the public via teleconference.

Specifically, EXIM’s Board of Directors approved a resolution to temporarily exclude from EXIM coverage or financing any exports of critically needed personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies and equipment. The agency’s focus is on items identified by the President of the United States, Department of Health and Human Service (HHS), Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and other US agencies as being in scarce supply, such as respirators and PPE, including masks, gloves, Tyvek suits, face shields and similar protective wear.

“The urgency of combatting the COVID-19 pandemic requires a whole-of-government approach to protect the American people,” said EXIM President and Chairman Kimberly A. Reed. “The steps we are taking here will help ensure EXIM is doing its part to stem the horrific effects of coronavirus here in the United States.”

“Historically, financing of medical equipment exports has constituted a relatively small portion of EXIM’s overall financing portfolio. Currently, it represents less than one percent,” Reed added. “At the same time, we must undertake every practical measure to support the availability of essential medical supplies for all Americans, especially our frontline health care providers, at this urgent time in our nation’s history and these measures can help to that end. While these necessary restrictions focused on COVID medical supplies proceed, EXIM remains open for business to support the export of other important ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ health care products.”

“While EXIM remains committed to our mission of supporting US jobs through exports, the health and safety of the American people is our number one priority,” said EXIM Board Member Spencer Bachus III. “These steps will work to ensure that Americans have the medical supplies and equipment needed during this challenging time.”

Per the resolution, EXIM’s temporary actions, which will remain in place through September 30, 2020 (unless the EXIM Board votes to terminate them earlier), include the following:

Expressly exclude EXIM coverage for exports of all COVID medical supplies necessary in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Such “COVID medical supplies” include those items identified in the HHS March 25 Notice and President Trump’s April 3 Presidential Memorandum. The exclusion applies to all EXIM insurance, loan guarantee, and loan transactions going forward, including new and renewed insurance policies;

Contact exporters insured under existing Single Buyer or Multibuyer Insurance Policies and work to ensure existing agreements that currently cover exports of medical equipment and supplies reflect the new EXIM policy to exclude coverage for COVID medical supplies;

Monitor and, as appropriate, implement guidance from the White House and relevant federal agencies regarding developments in US policy towards COVID-19-related matters including guidance issued to minimize the risk of reinfection from other countries into the United States. Consult, as appropriate, with HHS and other US Government agencies regarding the specific medical supplies and equipment deemed to be in scarce supply; and

Grant Special Delegated Authority to the EXIM Chief Banking Officer to oversee these and further actions deemed appropriate and necessary to support US Government policy in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today’s actions build on a sustained EXIM COVID-19 pandemic response effort. The Board of Directors voiced unified support March 25 for several initiatives to support American jobs and exporters by injecting liquidity into the market and give maximum financing flexibility to facilitate sales of US goods and services abroad. Namely, EXIM has expanded or established – in both cases on a temporary basis – its Bridge Financing Programme; Pre-Delivery / Pre-Export Financing Programme; Supply Chain Financing Guarantee Programme; and Working Capital Guarantee Programme.

On March 12, EXIM announced initial relief measures—waivers, deadline extensions, streamlined processing, flexibility—for its working capital loan guarantee and export credit insurance programmes to its customers, primarily US small businesses.

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