By Godson Umejiego, Correspondent US
Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) President and Chairman Kimberly A. Reed, a native of Buckhannon, West Virginia, Thursday delivered remarks to West Virginia businesses at a virtual event hosted by the West Virginia Development Office of Export Promotion.
During the webinar with more than 125 registrants, which included representatives of the US Commercial Service, US Small Business Administration, and EXIM, Chairman Reed underscored how West Virginia businesses, particularly small businesses, can use EXIM’s financing tools and resources to increase their international sales growth, showcase their “Made in the USA” products, and support West Virginia jobs. She also underscored EXIM’s COVID-19 (coronavirus) relief measures for US exporters and financial institutions.
“Some 95 per cent of the world’s purchasing power resides outside of the United States, which presents a great opportunity for US small businesses. My home state of West Virginia has numerous advantages, such as its highly skilled workforce and comparatively low cost of doing business, which make exporting an appealing option for small businesses to increase their international sales,” said Chairman Reed. “By using EXIM’s tools, West Virginia businesses can protect themselves against exporting-related risks and improve their cash flow. We encourage companies in West Virginia and across the nation to use these tools, not only to help get through the current economic challenges, but to use exports to reach their full business potential while also supporting jobs here at home.”
Since 2014, EXIM has supported exports valued at more than US$19 million from 15 companies, including eight small businesses, in West Virginia. That includes Legacy Truck Centers in Wheeling, West Virginia, a family-owned business that began using EXIM’s export credit insurance in 2011. Since then, EXIM has helped support more than US$2 million in exports to 10 countries for the company, formerly known as Wheeling Truck Center.
“EXIM has helped our company expand sales into many foreign markets. The ability to offer our clients an open account is a requirement to secure some international business, and that has helped us increase sales and sustain jobs for our employees,” said International and eCommerce Sales Director for Legacy Truck Centers, Chad Remp who also took part in the webinar.
In May 2019, during her first month at EXIM, Chairman Reed invited Mr. Remp to participate in a small business roundtable at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. “EXIM stands ready to assist small businesses like Legacy Truck Center, and I am so glad that Chad Remp is able to share this Wheeling success story. May it be an inspiration to other businesses across the Mountain State,” said Reed.
Others participating in the event were:
- International Trade Representative, West Virginia Development Office, Caitlin Ashley-Lizarraga.
- Regional Manager, Small Business Administration, Bill Houck.
- Senior International Trade Specialist, US Commercial Service, Diego Gattesco.
- EXIM Eastern Region Deputy Managing Director of Sales and Marketing, Regina Gordin.
- EXIM Business Development Office Aerek Stephens .
The West Virginia Development Office is a member of EXIM’s Regional Export Promotion Programme (REPP), a cooperative arrangement between EXIM, cities, counties, states, and local nonprofit economic development entities. With 56 members in 35 states and two US territories, it has yielded more than US$25 million in new authorizations though direct referrals, connecting small businesses to the global economy.
“We are honored to be an EXIM REPP member and to promote EXIM’s initiatives among West Virginia’s export community,” said Ashley-Lizarraga of the West Virginia Development Office. “I am optimistic that the information presented on this webinar will be beneficial to our small businesses as they continue to grow their international sales and educate the world’s consumers on the unique products and services made here in West Virginia, USA.”
The speakers outlined opportunities to support small businesses with EXIM’s export financing that can help them increase current sales or expand into new markets. By partnering with EXIM, exporters can mitigate the risk of nonpayment on international sales, offer credit terms to foreign buyers, and access working capital loan guarantees.