DISASTER MANAGEMENT

EXIM Committee, SAAC Meet To Focus On Continued COVID-19 Palliatives

…For US Businesses and Workers

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By Cyber Era Correspondent

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM)  Advisory Committee and Sub-Saharan Africa Advisory Committee (SAAC) held a joint meeting Tuesday to discuss EXIM’s continued implementation of COVID-19 relief measures for US businesses and workers, insurance brokers, foreign buyers of US exports, and financial institutions.

EXIM Advisory Committee Chair, the Honorable Stevan Pearce, and SAAC Chair, Daniel Runde, co-chaired the public meeting, which included twenty-five Advisory Committee and SAAC members, EXIM President and Chairman Kimberly A. Reed and Board Members Spencer Bachus III and Judith D. Pryor, and over 100 public attendee registrants, via teleconference.

Chairman Reed underscored the excellent job the 400-person EXIM staff were doing while teleworking to ensure EXIM remained fully open for its customers and stakeholders during the COVID-19 crisis. EXIM Chief Banking Officer Stephen Renna, Senior Vice President in the Office of Board Authorized Finance David Sena, and Senior Vice President of Small Business Jim Burrows provided the committee with an update on EXIM’s COVID-19 relief measures.

“We greatly appreciate our EXIM Advisory Committee and Sub-Saharan Africa Advisory Committee members’ insights. During today’s meeting, the committee members provided a variety of suggestions—from simplifying and speeding up small business processes to supporting our U.S. supply chain and innovation to focusing on Africa now and for the long-term, especially when it comes to China—that will be helpful as EXIM focuses on helping our businesses and workers during this very challenging time.”

“These are unprecedented times in this country, but also in the world,” said Chair Pearce during the meeting. “The market is unstable. That does not lend itself to aggressive investments, and it does not lend itself to expansion and reaching new market shares. And that’s where EXIM comes in.”

“EXIM is going to play a key role in supporting our friends and allies during the COVID-19 crisis,” said Chair Runde. “Africa has not felt the full extent of COVID yet and they will experience an economic as well as global health emergency.”

The SAAC also unanimously approved a recommendation letter: “How the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) could invest more in Information and Communications Technology (ICT); Healthcare; and Agriculture sectors in Africa to help support US jobs and boost both the US and sub-Saharan Africa economy.” The letter noted that “We realize these three sectors are critical to African growth and are areas where the United States has a competitive advantage to many other advanced exporting nations, most notably China.”

On March 12, EXIM announced initial relief measures—waivers, deadline extensions, streamlined processing, and flexibility—for its working capital loan guarantee and export credit insurance programs to its customers, primarily US small businesses, that now have been extended through May 31.

At a March 25 open board meeting, which included ex officio Board Members US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and US Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, the EXIM Board of Directors adopted a resolution affirming its support of temporary relief measures including bridge financing, progress delivery payment financing, supply chain finance guarantees, and working capital guarantee expansions. 

EXIM also expedited a change in the fee structure of Delegated Authority and Fast Track Loans to give small businesses better transparency into the fee structure and lower the fee rate by an average of 10 basis points.

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