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Ex-Im Bank’s Charter Scheduled to Expire on 30 September

For several years prior to May 2019, the board of directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States lacked a quorum that limited its loan issuance to US$10 million, while certain U.S. senators repeatedly opposed board member confirmations. While the board of directors was returned to its full quorum on 8 May, the Ex-Im Bank’s charter is still scheduled to expire on 30 September.

Created during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Ex-Im Bank helps U.S. companies export products by financing product purchases by foreign buyers. The Bank’s biggest beneficiaries have included large manufacturing and aerospace companies such as Boeing and General Electric, but many other exporters have also benefited at no cost to U.S. taxpayers.

Legislation introduced in July by Senate Banking Committee members Kevin Cramer (Republican-North Dakota) and Kyrsten Sinema (Democrat-Arizona) would extend the Ex-Im Bank’s authorisation for ten years, while legislation introduced in June by House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (Democrat-California) along with ranking member Patrick McHenry (Republican-North Carolina) would re-authorise the Bank for seven years. Sen. Cramer has indicated in regard to a controversial provision in the House version that would restrict access to Ex-Im Bank financing for mainland Chinese state-owned enterprises that he does not know “why we would restrict who can purchase our products.” Senate Banking Chairman Mike Crapo (Republican-Idaho) said on 10 September that his committee hoped to be able to pass Ex-Im Bank reauthorisation “with one of the pieces of legislation that is getting priority to get floor attention right now” since it is generally easier to attach smaller legislation to another “must-pass” bill for passage.

The National Association of Manufacturers sent a letter on 11 September urging Congress to pass “a robust and long-term reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank before its charter expires.” The letter, which attracted more than 200 signatories, reiterated an estimate that the prior quorum problem caused American manufacturers to lose US$119 billion in export sales. In addition, a new “Coalition for U.S. Jobs” was announced on 10 September to push for a ten-year reauthorisation of Ex-Im Bank. The coalition was established by 30 U.S. firms that have benefited from Ex-Im Bank services.

U.S. government appropriations are also scheduled expire on 30 September, which could lead to a full or partial government shutdown unless all necessary spending bills or a continuing resolution are passed. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Republican-Kentucky) said on 9 September that he supported passing a continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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