Day One Of EXIM Virtual 2020 Annual Conference Feature Prominent State Actors

  • As 5G, Clean Energy, And Small Business Export Finance Top Agenda

By Godson Umejiego, Correspondent USA

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) concluded day one of its virtual 2020 Annual Conference with over 1,700 participants from across the United States. The conference included keynote speakers, panel discussions, and networking opportunities designed to help US  companies expand their exporting opportunities.

Welcome Remarks from EXIM President and Chairman Kimberly A. Reed

EXIM President and Chairman Kimberly A. Reed kicked-off day one of EXIM’s 2020 Virtual Annual Conference by outlining the many things EXIM has accomplished since a Board quorum was restored in May 2019. She also provided conference participants with an overview of the tools EXIM has to support the export of “Made in the USA” goods and services.

“EXIM is now fully opened for business with the longest reauthorization in our agency’s 86-year history and we have the leadership and foresight of President Trump to thank for this. Since May 2019, when the quorum was restored on the EXIM Board, EXIM has approved over 2,000 small business authorizations in support of American exporters. In that time, EXIM has authorized over US$8.8 billion in financing to support tens of thousands of US jobs across our country,” said Chairman Reed. “All of us at EXIM want to help you reach new customers beyond our shores and reach new heights of success for your business. I hope EXIM’s conference will allow many of the participants to connect with potential customers beyond our country’s borders, so your business can grow and prosper as never before.”

Keynote Remarks by National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien

Following Chairman Reed’s opening remarks, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien delivered keynote remarks, focused on the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)  and how United States assistance, including financing from EXIM, offers countries a “different way.”

“By providing export credit, the bank helps American companies compete overseas, creating American jobs, and driving American growth, while simultaneously helping nations around the world develop their economies and lift their people out of poverty,” Ambassador O’Brien said.

Panel Discussion with US House of Representatives China Task Force Members

EXIM Counselor to the Chairman and Senior Vice President for the Programme on China and Transformational Exports David Trulio updated conference attendees on EXIM’s new Programme on China and Transformational Exports, after which he moderated a panel with US House of Representatives China Task Force Chairman Michael McCaul (TX-10) and Co-Chairs Andy Barr (KY-6) and Anthony Gonzalez (OH-16).

“China challenges American power, influence, and interests, and is attempting to erode American security and prosperity,” said Trulio. “Our number one goal as an EXIM team when it comes to the Programme on China and Transformational Exports is to execute deals where US businesses successfully compete against Chinese state-backed entities. It is crucial that, working closely with exporters and their partners, we achieve tangible results in the form of completed deals that help specific businesses in the United States generate exports and support US jobs.”

“The China Task Force is doing critical work to address the growing threat of the Chinese Communist Party and it was great to discuss these efforts at the EXIM annual conference,” said Chairman McCaul. “From incentivizing the domestic production of semiconductors, safeguarding global 5G networks, and securing our supply chain- we must implement policies that ensure the democratic ideals of the US and our allies beat out the CCP’s goal of global domination. I appreciate EXIM’s dedication to this cause, particularly their work to take on the CCP’s predatory economic practices and advance US business interests around the world.”

The Programme on China and Transformational Exports, established in EXIM’s historic seven-year reauthorization, is intended to help level the playing field for US exporters and workers by directly neutralizing export subsidies for competing goods and services offered by the People’s Republic of China. From May to August, EXIM conducted its “Strengthening American Competitiveness” initiative, a series of teleconferences with American businesses and stakeholders. A full list of teleconferences and subsequent recordings can be found here.

Overview of EXIM’s COVID-19 Relief Measures by Chief Banking Officer Stephen Renna

As part of the day’s events, EXIM’s Chief Banking Officer Stephen Renna highlighted EXIM’s COVID-19 relief measures for US exporters and financial institutions impacted by the pandemic. The relief measures – which include waivers, deadline extensions, streamlined processing, and flexibility – were originally announced on March 12, 2020, extended in April, and extended again through October 31, 2020.

“What we have done throughout all of our programmes, both on the short-term side and on the medium and long-term side, is provide flexibility and accommodation to EXIM’s customer base. Our goal is to put EXIM’s customers in the position they need to be in order to weather this economic crisis,” Renna said. “We’ve managed our portfolio to provide the flexibility, forbearance, and streamlining that’s necessary to serve our existing clients. We’ve taken care of the domestic exporter community, and we’re anticipating what foreign buyers are going to be needing. With these measures, we believe that we are, and will be, well-suited to help US exporters fulfill their export contracts around the world.”

5G, Clean Energy, and Small Business Export Finance

Following today’s (September 10)morning plenary session, a series of breakout sessions occurred, including a session titled “5G Wireless Technology and US Exports,” moderated by EXIM’s Senior Vice President for External Engagement Luke Lindberg. The breakout session featured Senior Director, 5G Architecture, Cisco, Bob Everson; 5G Engineering Technologist, Dell Technologies, Bob Kerr;  and VP of Communications and Media Solutions, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Phil Mottram,. The panelists discussed the important role EXIM could play in the manufacturing and services related to 5G wireless communications and associated scalable infrastructures, as well as how the US telecommunications industry is essential to America’s economic and national security.

The second morning breakout session, moderated by Executive Director, ClearPath Foundation, Rich Powell focused on “Advancing US Clean Energy Technologies Across the Globe.” Panelists including CEO, VerdeWatts, LLC, Steven Wilburn; VP, Portfolio Management, Siemens Digital Grid, Ravi Pradhan; and Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships, Energy Storage Systems, Inc., Aram Zamgochian discussed the increasing global demand for energy and the opportunity for US companies to deploy innovative and energy efficient technologies around the world.

The third session, focused on trade finance tools for small businesses, featured an introduction from EXIM Board Member Spencer T. Bachus, III, followed by a presentation from  Managing Director, EXIM, Sharyn Koenig and Business Development Specialist (marketing), EXIM, Kenneth Click. The session provided an explanation of EXIM products available to companies seeking to expand and accelerate growth in international markets, access pre-export working capital, and mitigate the risks of buyer nonpayment.

Keynote Remarks by US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross

As part of his keynote remarks, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross highlighted the importance of EXIM’s recent seven-year reauthorization, EXIM’s role in promoting US economic and national security, and the agency’s efforts assisting in the economic recovery efforts in the wake of COVID-19.

“The US Department of Commerce fully supports EXIM in its efforts to boost exports and shift production back to the United States. By pursuing a lending strategy that is far more strategic and focused on US economic and national security interests, EXIM is becoming a true force in the American economy as we work together to create a V-shaped recovery that is progressing far faster than many had anticipated,” said Secretary Ross.

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