At Northern Power Systems in Barre this morning, Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) called on Congress to re-authorize the recently-lapsed Export-Import Bank of the United States. Welch was joined by representatives of Vermont's business community as well as businesses that have received loans from the Bank, including Northern Power Systems.
The Export-Import Bank helps American companies market and sell their goods overseas by providing them with direct loans, loan guarantees, and export credit insurance when the private sector is unable or unwilling to do so. The Bank's charter expired at the end of June due to Congressional inaction, leaving thousands of American export-dependent jobs hanging in the balance. While it remains open, it is unable to issue new loans unless Congress reauthorizes its charter.
"This important institution has created or sustained hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country at no cost to taxpayers. Since its inception more than 80 years ago, every Congress and every president, regardless of party, has supported it," Congressman Welch said. "The Ex-Im Bank has helped Vermont businesses stay competitive in a global economy. Congress should immediately get it back on track. Every day it waits means lost jobs and lost revenue for small and large businesses alike across this country." "Thanks to Congressman Welch for addressing this important business issue," Betsy Bishop, President of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, said. "Reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank is vital to protecting and growing Vermont jobs, and in a small state like Vermont, manufacturers must export their products to expand their markets and remain globally competitive. For this and many more reasons, the Vermont Chamber supports reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank."
"The Export-Import Bank of the United States has enabled Northern Power to rapidly expand global sales of our advanced wind technology developed and manufactured in Central Vermont by offering both our customers and Northern Power financing options," Ciel Caldwell, Chief Financial Officer at Northern Power Systems, said. "Ex-Im backed finance is critical in helping us create skilled production, manufacturing, and engineering jobs that positively impact Central Vermont's economy and global attractiveness. In 2014 our full-year sales increased by 175% with 90% of such revenues being outside the United States -- we could not have accomplished this without Ex-Im."
"59 other countries including Russia and China provide credit and financing support to companies in their countries," Dan DiBattista, General Electric Rutland Plant Director, said. "The Ex-Im Bank levels the playing field and keeps the U.S. competitive with foreign countries, especially China and Russia. GE aviation exports almost 70% of our U.S. made products and services. GE aviation in Rutland employs over 1000 people and supports many other jobs in our community through our suppliers and service providers. Over two thirds of those jobs are supported by products and engine lines that are exported to other countries."
According to the Bank, Vermont businesses received over $22 million in fiscal years 2012 through 2014. The Export-Import Bank generated a surplus of over $675 million in fiscal year 2014, allowing it to operate at no cost to taxpayers.
Welch was joined by representatives of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, the Vermont Economic Development Authority, Northern Power Systems, Inc., and General Electric Aviation.
Welch is a co-sponsor of H.R. 1031, The Promoting U.S. Jobs Through Exports Act of 2015, which would reauthorize the Export-Import Bank for seven years and raises the Bank's lending cap.