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Kaine Makes Case For Reauthorization Of Export-Import Bank, Highlights Bank’s Value For Virginia

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In remarks on the Senate floor today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine called for reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), highlighting how Ex-Im provides critical financing assistance to Virginia businesses that helps them increase their exports and create jobs across the Commonwealth – all at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer. Kaine shared stories of four Virginia companies who have benefited from Ex-Im’s assistance: Orbital Sciences Corporation in Dulles, Turkey Knob Orchards in Timberville, Bristol Compressors in Bristol and Eagle Paper International in Virginia Beach.

“In Virginia, generally since ’07, the Ex-Im Bank has supported 98 companies in every Congressional district,” said Kaine. “59 are small businesses; ten are minority-owned; three are women-owned. More than one billion dollars in exports have been supported in Virginia since 2007. I have heard from everybody in Virginia, from Governor McAuliffe to the Virginia Chamber of Commerce to both the National and Virginia Association of Manufacturers, saying, ‘Whatever you do, find an agreement to authorize the continuation of this very important bank.‘”

For more than 80 years, the Ex-Im Bank has assisted in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to international markets. It helps level the playing field for U.S. exporters by matching the financing that other governments provide to companies in their countries. Ex-Im has enabled companies across the Commonwealth to turn export opportunities into real sales that help to maintain and create jobs and contribute to a stronger economy. The bank does not compete with private-sector lenders but provides export-support that fill gaps in trade financing.

Full transcript of Sen. Kaine’s remarks:

“Madam President, I have got a deal for you. Let's create American jobs. Let’s help American businesses find customers abroad. And let's do it at no cost to the American taxpayer.

“I rise to speak about exactly the point that Chairwoman Cantwell just spoke about, the Chairwoman our Small Business Committee. The importance of the Export-Import Bank which expires on September 30 of this year. The Senate and Congress need to act to continue the job so we can--to continue the Bank--so we can create hundreds of thousands of jobs, so we can help American businesses find customers abroad, and do it at no cost to the American taxpayer.

“Chairwoman Cantwell did a good job of explaining the bank and what it does, and I’ll just spend a few minutes on that. It is an independent, self-sustaining governmental agency, and it’s one of the most important tools that U.S. companies can have to boost exports to all the countries and all the customers abroad who want high-quality products produced in the United States. The bank assumes country and credit risks that other private-sector lenders are unable or unwilling to do at a reasonable cost, and it helps level the playing field for U.S. businesses because so many of our global competitors have banks just like this that loan even more or support even more loans than we do. So this is about leveling the playing field for American businesses.

“In fiscal year 2013, the Ex-Im Bank approved an all-time high 3,842 loan authorizations with a total estimated export value of $37.4 billion that's estimated to have created or sustained over 200,000 export-related jobs right here in the United States. Countries like China, France, Germany, Korea, and India are extending multiple times as much financing as our Export-Import Bank. This is not the time to let international competitors eat our lunch. We have to be aggressive and we have to compete, and that's why this bank needs to be reauthorized.

“Now, Madam President, I'm really here to talk about why it matters in Virginia, just using Virginia as an example. I know you'll forgive me for being partial to the Commonwealth, but anyone could get up here and do exactly what I'm going to do—talk about businesses in their states to whom the Export-Import Bank is incredibly important. In Virginia, generally since ’07, the Ex-Im Bank has supported 98 companies in every Congressional district. 59 are small businesses; 10 are minority-owned; 3 are women-owned; more than $1 billion in exports supported in Virginia since 2007. And I have heard from everybody in Virginia, from Governor McAuliffe to the Virginia Chamber of Commerce to both the National and Virginia Association of Manufacturers, saying, “Whatever you do, find an agreement to authorize the continuation of this very important bank.”

“Let me tell about four companies, and they're very different companies: rockets, apples, compressors and paper. (Sounds like a rock, paper, scissors thing, right?) Rockets, apples, compressors and paper. Orbital Sciences Corporation in Dulles, right here close. Orbital manufactures small and medium-class space systems (mostly satellites) and rockets. Their headquarters is in Dulles. 3,600 employees, high-paying jobs. They launch rockets from all over the country, including Wallops Island near Chincoteague on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. They build satellites for the U.S. Government but also sell commercial communications satellites to many international buyers. Now this commercial business that Orbital has is faced with significant competition from European satellite manufacturers EADS, Austrium and Thales Alenia. And so Orbital relies on the Export-Import Bank to level the playing field. Those European manufacturers get assistance from their governments to go out and compete for this commercial business and orbital does the same. This neutralizes the advantage that European governments try give to their satellite industry. In the last few years, since 2012, Orbital has produced 38 satellites. Six of them relied on Export-Import Bank financing and would not have been done without the backstop that the Ex-Im Bank provides. For every commercial satellite that Orbital builds, 300 jobs are supported, direct and indirect, within the company and then there is a supply chain, and there is another additional 300 jobs in the supply chain. So the story of Orbital manufacturing rockets and satellites is illustrative of the contribution the Ex-Im Bank makes to U.S. small and medium-sized aerospace companies.

“Alright, let's switch from rockets and talk about apples for a minute. Turkey Knob Orchard in Timberville, VA. They grow apples on 3,500 acres in rural Virginia. It is a long-standing family-owned business that's produced apples in the Commonwealth since 1918. Now this family-owned business in Timberville uses the Export-Import Bank to protect deals made with companies in rapidly expanding markets like west Africa and India where the risks are high and conventional lenders may be a little skittish, and then it gives their partners peace of mind and a credible system for evaluating buyers abroad. The credit insurance is one of the most competitive and user-friendly products in the market for small growers like Turkey Knob who don't have a large international office or large international export offices around the globe. Without Ex-Im credit insurance, Turkey Knob would export less, and their exports would be exposed to more risk, more potential liability. And additionally, with the credit insurance program, small exporters are able to build these deals so they can expand business that otherwise wouldn't be possible. We want importers to buy Virginia apples. We think our apples are every bit as good as Washington apples or every other states' apples and we're proud to market them and other products from Virginia as well, especially in a time when the economy need to be stronger. But we wouldn't be able to find those clients for growers like Turkey Knob without the Ex-Im Bank.

“Compressors: Bristol Compressors in Bristol, Virginia, right on the border with Tennessee in the state’s far southwestern corner. This is a manufacturing company, very cutting-edge. They design and manufacture compressors for residential and commercial applications, air conditioning, heat pumps, refrigeration. It’s one of the largest compressor manufacturers in the world. They also serve manufacturers and distributors across six continents. I think Antarctica might be the exception. (They have enough air conditioning there.) But Bristol has worked directly and indirectly with the Ex-Im Bank through their credit lenders for many years. Bristol would not be able to service the majority of its business without the support of the Ex-Im Bank. I have been to this company. It’s in a part of the state that needs more jobs, not less, and without the Ex-Im Bank, they wouldn't be able to service their customers in six continents. Bristol has told us that, without the support, jobs at Bristol would be at risk, which would have a negative impact on the local economy. We want to promote American manufacturing, not shrink it.

“Finally, Paper: Eagle Paper International in Virginia Beach. This is an international paper manufacturer and distributor. Been around since 1988. Virginia Beach is an important place because we have an active port in Virginia Beach, one of the busiest ports on the east coast of the United States, so it is a great place to find exports and ship exports from. So Eagle Paper has succeeded in its 25 year in business in exporting paper worldwide. Eagle has told us very plainly and I quote, "Ex-Im is a crucial part of our business. Without the export credit insurance, we would not be able to support the customer base that we currently have. Without this customer base, our sales would decrease and, in turn, we would have to eliminate employees in order to keep our business up and running."

“Madam President, not often do we have such no-brainers present themselves on the floor. I'll end where I started. Let's create American jobs. Let's help businesses find customers around the world. And let's do it at no cost to the American taxpayer. We do not make general fund applications to the Ex-Im Bank because they charge their customers for the services they provide. And not only do they break even, they actually raised $2 billion above the loans that they put out in the last few years that they then used to make more loans to more American businesses to create more jobs. I've been heartened to see 50-plus months of private-sector job growth, and I know Madam President has, as well. But we also know we're not where we need to be yet. GDP needs to be higher. More jobs need to be created. We need to create more skilled workers to fill those jobs. The Ex-Im Bank is one of the best tools we have to help move the economy forward. If it didn’t exist, we’d have to create it, but the good news is it does exist. All we have to do is vote to reauthorize it before September 30. It is my hope that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both houses will join in this very important and completely logical mission. Thank you, Madam President.”