Jun 03, 2015 - 2:15pm

Australian Mining Project Belongs in the Ex-Im Win Column for U.S. Companies

As Congress weighs reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, it’s very clear-cut: When U.S. companies have the tools they need to compete, they can beat out competitors from anywhere in the world.

Because U.S. companies had access to Ex-Im financing, 13 exporters have been able to provide equipment to support an iron-ore mining endeavor in Australia, known as the Roy Hill project.

Some Ex-Im opponents claim the project has somehow caused harm to the U.S. economy. They are wrong. Instead, it has benefited U.S. companies and the economy.

One of the companies able to grow because of Roy Hill was Caterpillar, which used Ex-Im financing to help provide equipment. Without Ex-Im, Caterpillar would have lost business and another company – from another country – would have stepped in.

"It is absolutely certain that without Ex-Im the project would have gone forward, but the business would have gone to overseas competitors," said Kathryn Karol, Caterpillar’s vice president of Global Government and Corporate Affairs.

She adds: "We can’t afford to leave economic opportunities on the table. Roy Hill stands as a prime example of why the U.S. needs the Ex-Im Bank."

Before Ex-Im provides necessary financing, there is homework to be done. With Roy Hill, the bank conducted an independent review to ensure the project would have a positive impact on the U.S. economy, setting the stage for U.S. companies to win.

"To opponents of Ex-Im, I say this, ‘Let’s not gift wrap the important benefits of economic growth and job creation for our foreign competitors. We need more projects like Roy Hill – not less,’” Karol said.

So it is time for Congress to act – before the bank’s charter expires at the end of the month.

The Chamber, in partnership with the National Association of Manufacturers, helped coordinate a letter sent to members of Congress on Wednesday and signed by more than 1,000 American companies and business associations. It calls for immediate and long-term reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank.

Without renewal, "U.S. businesses of all sizes would be deprived of a vital financing source at a time when boosting exports is increasingly vital to growing our nation's economy and jobs," the letter states.

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