Presented by: Dallas Business Journal
Despite being a federal issue, the possible closing of the U.S. Export-Import Bank is becoming more than Capitol Hill chatter for Texas. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Texas Association of Business today made the case for the bank’s vitality and importance to the Dallas area. Texas has led the country in exports for more than half a decade, buoyed by $22 billion in financing from the bank between 2007 and this year. For the Dallas area, the bank has supported more than 9,000 jobs.
“This issue is a critically important one,” Bill Hammond, president of the Texas Association of Business said at the conference. “It’s about jobs, jobs, jobs. If we don’t reauthorize the Ex-Im, little companies to big companies will suffer.” The possibility of an Ex-Im shut down has led business owners, especially those supporting small enterprises, to plead with Congress to sustain the bank, and in turn, their livelihoods. David Eckert, vice president of finance for Air Tractor, said his company turned to Ex-Im after no other commercial bank would give loans to foreign customers to buy Air Tractor products. Since receiving Ex-Im support, the company has added 100 jobs, and through the bank, Air Tractor can give foreign customers five-year financing to buy its products. “This is an issue that goes even to the small communities,” Eckert said. “We’ve been exporting actively for about 20 years. When we started, 10 percent of sales were going internationally. As we’ve grown, we’re now at 50 percent internationally. If the Ex-Im Bank goes away, 20 percent of our workforce is at risk.”