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Business Leaders Gather to Urge Support for Reauthorization of Export-Import Bank

Author: SC Chamber

August 29, 2014

Rock Hill, S.C.—Business leaders from GE, Morrison Textile Machinery, Honeywell and Boeing joined the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, York County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce, Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce, South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers Wednesday to urge support for the reauthorization of the federal Export-Import Bank. The Ex-Im Bank is set to expire September 30, 2014 unless Congress acts swiftly.

The U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) is a vital tool to help grow U.S. exports and increase American jobs. The Ex-Im Bank levels the playing field and ensures small businesses are able to compete in emerging markets. The Bank covers critical gaps in financing for U.S. exports to developing countries where commercial-bank financing is unavailable or insufficient. In 2013, the Bank helped facilitate more than $37 billion in U.S. exports and support more than 200,000 U.S. jobs at no cost to the government. In fact, the Ex-Im Bank actually returns dollars to the U.S. Treasury.

Ex-Im provides export financing to companies in cases where the private market is unable or unwilling to lend support. Through direct loans, loan guarantees and insurance policies, Ex-Im enables many small companies to export and helps large corporations compete against government-backed foreign competitors.

“The Ex-Im bank has directly supported 7,878 jobs in South Carolina over the last few years, and has enabled the state to export an additional $1.232 billion worth of goods,” said Robert Purser of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce."

Nearly 90% of Ex-Im transactions go to small businesses such as Bridge to Life Solutions Ltd. in Columbia. Ex-Im also assists small manufacturing firms like Morrison Textile Machinery Company in
Fort Lawn. Morrison employs about 90 locals and 70 subcontractors, and uses Ex-Im working capital guarantees to secure loans for its exports.

Morrison Textile Machinery President Jay White said, “U.S. Ex-Im is far from a ‘negligible benefit’ to our small company. It is allowing us to build back, reinvent and diversify our capital machinery business.”

In addition to Morrison, the impact of Ex-Im on other small area companies was noted by Jerry Helms, a local business representative and chairman of the York County Regional Chamber, the host of Wednesday’s gathering.
Helms said, “In York County alone, the Bank has been responsible for assisting a number of companies, generating millions of dollars in exports and sustaining hundreds of jobs.”

“In South Carolina, manufacturers account for 16.3 percent of the total output in the state and employ nearly 12 percent of the workforce. Manufactured goods exports support nearly 1/3 of South Carolina’s manufacturing jobs,” said Lauren Airey of the National Association of Manufacturers.

Last year, South Carolina companies exported $25.3 billion of manufactured goods. In addition, manufacturing compensation is more than $30,000 higher than other non-farm employers in the state. In 2013, South Carolina’s top export destinations were China (18.5%), Canada (14.5), Germany (12.6%), Mexico (7.2%), and the United Kingdom (5.4%).

One large provider of these jobs in South Carolina is Boeing, the world’s leading manufacturer of commercial airplanes. Boeing employs over 8,000 South Carolinians in North Charleston and relies on Ex-Im to compete with the generous financing terms offered by Airbus, its government-supported European rival. Without Ex-Im, Boeing would lose billions of dollars worth of deals to Airbus and be forced to cut thousands of American jobs. Boeing has 50 suppliers in South Carolina, mostly manufacturing firms such as Alpha Sheet Metal Works Inc. in Ladson or Santee Industrial Products Inc. in North Charleston.

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