WASHINGTON—Ahead of scheduled Senate votes on President Trump’s nominations to the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a leading science and tech policy think tank, today called on the administration and Congress to ensure that the bank’s leadership is fully committed to fulfilling its mission. ITIF released the following statement from Stephen Ezell, its vice president for global innovation policy, who detailed the case for the Ex-Im bank in a blog post Monday:
The Ex-Im Bank’s role in supporting high-value-added U.S. exports is more important now than ever. International export competition continues to grow unabated. Other countries are hungry to export their products and services to international markets, and they are willing to provide extremely generous financial assistance to facilitate those transactions when necessary. For example, China invested more in export credit in 2016 than the rest of the world combined.
It’s critical for the United States to field a robust and well-functioning Ex-Im Bank with a quorum of directors in place to approve transactions exceeding $10 million. The bank has lacked a quorum, so it was only able to operate its short- and medium-term programs in 2016. That has resulted in more than $30 billion of potential transactions being stuck in the pipeline—transactions that could be supporting as many as 200,000 more U.S. jobs.
If President Trump is serious about revitalizing U.S. manufacturing, he should restore the Ex-Im Bank to effective operational status immediately, which means appointing a full quorum of directors deeply and genuinely committed to supporting the important role the bank plays. This would require a distinct change of perspective from Scott Garrett, a current Ex-Im board nominee, who once opined that the Ex-Im Bank “embodies the corruption of the free enterprise system.”