Cantwell, Yakima Business Call for Extension of Key Export Tool That Supports 83,000 WA Jobs

Export-Import Bank Due to Shut Doors in May without Congressional Action; WA would be Hardest-Hit State in Nation Ex-Im Bank Supported $15M of Yakima County Export Sales Since 2007

YAKIMA, WA – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined a Yakima small business to call for Congress to reauthorize a crucial job-creating tool for small business across Washington state – the Export-Import Bank. The small business, Manhasset Specialty Co., manufactures music stands sold all over the world and has used the Export-Import Bank to double its foreign sales in the past five years.

“Washington exports mean Washington jobs,” said Cantwell. “Allowing the Export-Import Bank to expire would be a setback to Eastern Washington’s exporters, including Manhasset. Congress needs to put jobs before partisanship and pass the Export-Import Bank extension without delay.”

The Export-Import Bank has provided Manhasset with export financing assistance since 2004, which has helped the small business expand its overseas sales from just four countries ten years ago to over 40 today. Over the past five years alone, the bank has helped Manhasset’s foreign sales grow from just 14 percent of overall sales to 30 percent. Roughly 88 percent of Manhasset’s export sales last year were insured by the Export-Import Bank.

Established in 1934, the Export-Import Bank is America’s official export credit agency, helping to finance the exports of American-made goods – all at no cost the U.S. taxpayer. The bank helps to level the playing field for American manufacturers and service providers in the global marketplace.

Cantwell introduced a bipartisan amendment in March to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank for four years. Unless Congress acts before May 31, the Export-Import Bank will be forced to stop financing new export deals. With one in three jobs dependent on trade, Washington would be the hardest hit state in the country if the bank is not reauthorized. The bank’s closure would threaten export deals for Manhasset – which employs 18 people in Yakima – and for more than 100 other companies across Washington state.

The bank supports 83,000 jobs in Washington state, including supporting more than $15 million in sales from nine Yakima County companies over the last five years. Since 2007, the bank has provided $28 billion in loans to 168 exporters in Washington state, resulting in $64 billion in sales. Of these 168 exporters, 120 were small businesses.

Failure to extend the bank’s charter would seriously impact the ability of American companies to export overseas and cost jobs. China, Brazil, France, and many other companies provide far more aggressive export credit financing to companies within their borders. In 2010, China supplied $45 billion in export loans and loan guarantees, while the U.S. provided only $13 billion, according to an analysis by Bloomberg Government.

A bill to reauthorize the bank through 2015 was reported out of the Senate Banking Committee by unanimous voice vote on September 8, 2011. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Small Business Association, the Financial Services Roundtable, TechAmerica, the Aerospace Industries Association, the National Association of Manufacturers, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, Coalition for Employment through Exports, Washington Council on International Trade, Aerospace Machinists Industrial District Lodge 751, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, and the Business Roundtable support its reauthorization.

At today’s event, Senator Cantwell was joined by Barry Heid, Manhasset’s General Manager, and Verlynn Best, President and CEO of the Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce.