By Congress Member Carolyn Maloney and Council Member Dan Garodnick
In the last eight years, nearly 350 exporters, including 200 small businesses in New York have created or sustained jobs by exporting $11 billion worth of their products with the assistance of the Export-Import Bank. The bank is a little-known but important part of our country’s efforts to help businesses sell everything from peanut butter to airplanes abroad.
Even though the bank is operating at no cost to taxpayers and provided a $1 billion profit in 2013 alone, for a second year in a row Congress is threatening to shut it down. And as the clock ticks, New Yorkers’ jobs are hanging in the balance.
In April, the New York City Council Committee on Economic Development held a hearing to examine what would happen if Congress failed to extend the bank. The findings were alarming. The bank has created an estimated $4 billion in export value for New York City alone — and we know that every $1 billion in new exports creates nearly 5,000 new jobs. Nationwide, the bank created or sustained more than 164,000 jobs last year.
If a small business owner headquartered in Brooklyn wants to export their widgets to China, they face enormous hurdles and uncertainty. They need upfront financing to pay the shipping costs and insurance on the products in case they never make it to their destination. The expenses tally up quickly, and without a bank to help with the financing, the transaction would never happen — and the subsequent jobs from that new business would never be created.
Unfortunately, there are only a few institutions willing to finance these kinds of deals, and those that exist in the private sector are often prohibitively expensive. That’s why other exporting countries like China and Germany have their own state-run export banks. Without a U.S. bank, American companies will be competing on an uneven playing field.
We have renewed the bank’s charter 16 times in the past with little or no controversy. If we fail to do the same this year, we would be stacking the deck against American workers and small businesses in favor of some of our biggest competitors.
For these reasons the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, the Brooklyn Chamber and the New York District Export Council have all called on Congress to act.
The good news is a majority of Congress supports reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank. The bad news is that a few on the far-right are preventing reauthorization. This reckless posturing is dangerous for our economy, and New Yorkers shouldn’t stand for it.
As our economy continues to climb out of the worst recession since the Great Depression, the last thing we need is yet another self-inflicted wound. We have until June 30th to extend the bank’s charter. We need to keep the pressure on Congress and demand a vote on the Export-Import Bank.