Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published May 26, 2014 at 4:03 PM | Page modified May 26, 2014 at 8:23 PM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (0)
  • Print

Editorial: Reauthorize Export-Import Bank for the sake of Boeing and other Northwest companies

The federal Export-Import Bank is vital to Boeing and other Washington exporters, and Washington’s congressional delegation needs to fight against a baffling attack.


Seattle Times Editorial

Reader Comments
Hide / Show comments
All commenters are way off! The EX-IM bank support SBA loans that further exporting for our country. If shown that a... MORE
Check out the criticism of the Ex-Im Bank here for an alternate view. It also shows why this rag supports the bank. MORE
@wongman With all due respect.....Barron's calls the EX-IM bank Boeing bank. This is another one of Boeing's... MORE

advertising

THE Export-Import Bank, an obscure federal agency vital to Boeing and other Pacific Northwest exporters, is under fire in Washington, D.C., for the most baffling of reasons. Washington’s congressional delegation, Republicans and Democrats alike, should make a strong declaration of support as the bank faces a do-or-die reauthorization Oct. 1.

The institution has done much practical good over the last 80 years, offering loans, loan guarantees and credit insurance to foreign purchasers of U.S. exports — worth $27 billion last year. It doesn’t cost taxpayers a dime; indeed it returns a surplus to the U.S. Treasury.

The Ex-Im Bank is of particular importance in this state, where about 40 percent of jobs are linked to international trade. Since 2007, Ex-Im has supported $110 billion in Washington exports, mostly Boeing aircraft — more than a quarter of its total business last year. Yet, 90 percent of Ex-Im transactions support firms typically too small for commercial banks.

Right now, Ex-Im Bank faces its strongest-ever opposition, apparently as a matter of political theory. Though the argument comes from Republicans, it can’t be called conservative, as there are many conservatives who understand the importance of exports to U.S. manufacturers.

But Texas Republican U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, warns darkly of “crony capitalism,” saying the bank serves mainly big, well-connected U.S. businesses, and claims it distorts the free market. If the Ex-Im Bank made sense, he says, commercial banks would offer the same services. Delta Air Lines has jumped into the fray: Ex-Im Bank loans to buy aircraft have gone to airlines that compete with Delta internationally.

Pragmatism should rule. America’s biggest competitors in the world market offer similar government export credit programs — 59 countries in all. Many programs are larger. Even Delta uses them in foreign purchases. All Washington lawmakers voted for the bank in 2012.

With billions at stake, this state’s congressional Republicans, especially, now need to lead on the issue.

Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Sharon Pian Chan, Lance Dickie, Jonathan Martin, Erik Smith, Thanh Tan, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►