July 23, 2014

Some ‘Beneficiaries’ Of Export-Import Bank Oppose Re-Authorization

Business support for the Export-Import Bank of the United States is not universal, even among companies that have taken advantage of Ex-Im financing.

Ron Conry, the owner of Tallahassee-based Verdicorp, recently joined a growing chorus of business leaders opposing re-authorization of the bank, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

Verdicorp, which sells heating and air conditioning systems, had secured export insurance from Ex-Im once in the past, but Conry said he does not plan to use the bank again.

Conry also criticized Ex-Im for its preferential treatment of large companies, saying, “If you send them aircraft, they’re very good… but for smaller companies, it’s useless.” Ex-Im awarded 82 percent of all its FY 2012 loan guarantees to customers of Boeing.

Similar concerns were voiced by Lee Moak, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, in a letter to members of Congress earlier this month. Although it stops short of opposing re-authorization, the letter does ask Congress to institute reforms designed to eliminate competitive disadvantages faced by domestic airlines due to Ex-Im financing of foreign competitors.

Specifically, it requests that Congress ban Ex-Im from financing aircraft purchases for companies that are owned by, or receive backing from, foreign governments.

Conry’s echoes Edmund Schweitzer III, whose Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories has been cited as an example of why Ex-Im is necesary. In a letter to the editor of the Spokesman-Review, however, Schweitzer claimed that Ex-Im is not financially necessary. He added that without Ex-Im, “buyers and sellers would find attractive commercial options unencumbered by politics and special interests.”

Opposition to the bank on the part of companies like Verdicorp and SEL, which ostensibly benefit from Ex-Im financing, contrasts sharply with lobbying efforts undertaken on the bank’s behalf. According to the Wall Street Journal, a coalition of businesses and interest groups, including Boeing, are attempting to build support by distributing index cards to members of Congress listing all the companies that receive Ex-Im financing in each member’s district.

It’s not clear that all the listed companies necessarily support re-authorization.


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