This August, as members of Congress return to their districts, they are sure to hear from their constituents about their chief concerns -- jobs and the economy. Surveys show worries about the disappointing economic recovery and slow job creation remain widespread, and this concern ties directly to the debate over the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im).
For small business exporters in Missouri, reauthorizing Ex-Im is a no brainer. Without congressional action, Ex-Im will be unable to provide new loans or guarantees to American exporters after its charter expires on September 30.
What does that mean for workers and companies in Missouri? In short, lost sales and lost jobs. From 2007 to 2014, Ex-Im financing boosted Missouri exports by nearly $1.3 billion.
Perhaps Ex-Im's most important role is helping small American manufacturers like Ace Manufacturing Parts & Company in Sullivan, Missouri. Ace exports heavy duty clutches for semi-trucks and ultra-high performance racing clutches, and the firm employs more than 100 Missourians including 60 metal workers. Mickie Ivie, credit/collections analyst at Ace, says: "Without Ex-Im, we would have to ask our customers to switch to cash-in-advance. That would cost us overseas buyers and hurt our business."
Ex-Im has also played an important role helping companies weather hard times. Kansas City-based Western Forms, Inc., which makes aluminum forming systems used in construction, suffered during the last recession and was forced downsize from 300 to fewer than 70 employees. More recently, with Ex-Im's support for its exports, Western Forms is back up to more than 100 workers. Daniel Ward, International Operations Manager, says: "With 60 percent of our sales coming from foreign markets, [Ex-Im] support is not optional, it is mandatory."
There are many specialty exporters that use Ex-Im, like US International Foods in St. Louis. David Shogren, Chief Operations Officer, says: "Ex-Im's credit insurance is an essential tool that lets us break into foreign markets and expand our workforce." US International Foods ships American food products to Asia, creating jobs not only for itself, but for its numerous suppliers in Missouri and throughout the United States.
Across Missouri, there are more than 8,000 more jobs just like these supported by Ex-Im. However, these jobs are being unnecessarily put at risk by politicians and pundits who value ideology above practicality. These are good jobs in manufacturing, logistics, and other fields that provide Americans with not just wages but careers.
Congress has until September 30 to reauthorize Ex-Im, but the longer the delay, the more U.S. businesses will be hurt. Already, foreign customers are turning to suppliers in China and Europe who can offer financing. For Missouri and for the hundreds of thousands of American jobs that Ex-Im supports, Congress must renew the Ex-Im Bank.
Support Ex-Im Bank reauthorization at www.uschamber.com/ex-im.