Congress should reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank; Boeing executives are talking about moving operations overseas.
IN the ideological fight over the Export-Import Bank, Boeing is already losing out on deals. Next could be jobs in Washington state.
Congress left for its August recess without reauthorizing the bank, but should take up the issue as soon as it reconvenes in September. Leadership must stop letting a handful of conservatives to hijack reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank, which has proved an effective financing and economic development tool. It has provided credit and loan guarantees to foreign companies that buy American exports since 1934.
Misguided lawmakers have blocked Congress from voting on reauthorization even though the measure has enough support to pass. This political grandstanding led to the bank’s charter expiring June 30.
As Seattle Times reporter Dominic Gates reported in a recent story, a Boeing deal to sell 10 planes to Iraq is now on hold. Reuters reported that a commercial satellite provider, ABS, that was counting on Ex-Im financing canceled an order for Boeing satellites.
Boeing Chairman Jim McNerney said the company is “actively considering now moving key pieces of our company to other countries” that operate export credit agencies.
The Ex-Im Bank supported $8.3 billion of Boeing deals in 2013 that accounted for 15 percent of the company’s jet sales that year.”
True, Boeing is the bank’s largest client. The Ex-Im Bank supported $8.3 billion of Boeing deals in 2013 that accounted for 15 percent of the company’s jet sales that year. But hundreds of other companies, many much smaller, benefit too. Since 2007, the bank has financed a total of $130 billion in exports from Washington.
Critics of the Ex-Im Bank call it “corporate welfare” because it replicates a service they say should be done by the private market. Except that’s not true.
The Ex-Im Bank’s deals typically involve U.S. exporters or foreign buyers that couldn’t otherwise attain financing and the bank works with private banks to guarantee loans. More than 60 countries operate agencies like the Ex-Im Bank, which puts the United States at a disadvantage without one.
Half of Boeing’s workforce, about 80,000 people, are based in Washington. The company’s ability to sell planes has an outsized impact here. Washington already has to compete for Boeing jobs — remember the $8.7 billion tax break the Legislature approved to win the 777X line?
Congress shouldn’t make it harder to keep them here.