EXIM Advisory Committee Focuses On Strengthening American Competitiveness


By Emmanuel Oluebube, Correspondent UK

The Advisory Committee of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) convened a pubic virtual meeting Thurs day with more than 150 participants. The Advisory Committee is charged by the US Congress to focus on the extent to which EXIM is meeting its mandate to provide competitive financing to expand US exports, and to offer suggestions for improvements.

At the opening of the meeting, EXIM President and Chairman Kimberly A. Reed called for a moment of silence to remember those who have died or suffered due to injustice and the COVID-19 (coronavirus) global pandemic. In addition to offering her own remarks, Chairman Reed read aloud a moving letter she received from EXIM’s Deputy Vice President of Portfolio Risk Management Sonia Koshy, on the nationwide heartbreak at racial injustice and underscoring EXIM’s firm commitment to inclusion and diversity in the workplace.

“Our Nation has been through great trauma and distress over the past several months and weeks. Racism – and violence spurred on by racism – cannot stand and will not be tolerated in America,” Reed said. “We, like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., must be dedicated to dialogue, listening to others, and seeking justice. I am dedicated to those principles – both within the EXIM work environment and on the path forward that our country and government now take. Thank you to everyone who is helping us to reopen America and coming together to save lives and protect livelihoods. EXIM is an important part of the recovery that lies ahead.”

Advisory Committee members heard presentations by EXIM staff on several of the agency’s recent actions. Chief Banking Officer Stephen Renna discussed swift actions taken by EXIM to assist US companies and workers as part of the COVID-19 economic recovery, including waivers, deadline extensions, streamlined processing, and flexibility for its working capital loan guarantee and export credit insurance programs. Chief of Staff David Fogel updated the Committee on the implementation of Chairman Reed’s EXIM reform initiative, including new reforms to the agency’s economic impact procedures and guidelines for determining “additionality” — the reasons why a transaction could not go forward without EXIM financing and therefore would require EXIM support. The Advisory Committee previously hosted two public meetings to focus on these reforms after EXIM undertook a public comment process to invite input from all stakeholders. 

China, and how it has fundamentally changed the nature of competition when it comes to export credit finance, also was a topic of focus.  Senior Vice Presidents Ross Branson and David Trulio reviewed the implementation of EXIM’s historic reauthorization requirements, including the new “Program on China and Transformational Exports,” which Trulio is overseeing. Senior Vice President of EXIM’s Office of Policy and International Relations James Cruse previewed EXIM’s forthcoming Report on Global Export Competition (Competitiveness Report), which will be submitted to Congress and released to the public later this month. The Committee unanimously approved a comment letter that will be included in the Competitiveness Report.

Reed thanked EXIM’s 2019-2020 Advisory Committee members for their dedication and assistance, as this was the Committee’s fourth meeting over the past year. She assured the Committee, “We are working hard every day toward a fully functioning, fully reformed EXIM that will compete throughout the world on behalf of US exporters and support as many US jobs as possible.”

EXIM Board Member Spencer Bachus III expressed confidence in EXIM’s capacity to foster US competitiveness and economic growth. “Recent developments have more than proven EXIM’s ability to adapt to the broader crisis and to compete with other ECAs on behalf of American companies,” Bachus said. He noted that, during the pandemic, EXIM’s contacts with small businesses have approximately doubled.

EXIM Board Member Judith D. Pryor highlighted the contribution of the Competitiveness Report to a greater understanding of global competition. “EXIM’s Competitiveness Report is one of the most insightful products produced by this agency and clearly documents the extent to which ECAs differ in both the levels of support they provide their country’s exports, and through their highly competitive financing.”

The Advisory Committee Chairman, the Honorable Stevan Pearce, spoke of his concern about the “fragility” of the supply chain and how EXIM can make a critical difference. “We have not seen the end of the economic difficulties that we are experiencing. The key is not whether we face the storms but how we respond to the storms we face. EXIM will have both responsibilities and opportunities to influence, encourage, and uplift our economic recovery and restore America’s engine of ingenuity,” Chair Pearce said.

“American exporters and innovators can’t afford to fall behind in the global marketplace,” said Rich Powell, executive director of ClearPath, and a member of EXIM’s Advisory Committee. “Advancing a sound export policy for critical clean energy technologies developed here in America, for instance, will create a bright future for US businesses as well as the developing world. EXIM is taking a leadership role in advancing economic and national security and protecting the taxpayer.”

Advisory Committee Member and Council on Competitiveness’ President and CEO Deborah Wince-Smith commended Chairman Reed for her leadership. She went on to call for EXIM to modernize its approach to supporting the technology sector and competing with China. “Our country should be at the forefront of the technology and services of the future, which change right before our eyes. We need a 21st century manufacturing and services sector in the United States, and our businesses have to have the tools to compete,” Wince-Smith said.

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