Bill Walker on Free Trade
"Alaska has abundant resources, from natural gas and seafood to beer and baby food. These resources enable our state to dramatically reduce the trade deficit between the United States and China, if we can finalize agreements to increase exports of our products. Trade negotiations between leaders from both countries are ongoing. I am confident that we will, in the end, embrace the opportunity for mutual economic growth that we can achieve by working together. Next week, I will meet in Washington with leaders from both governments who have been at the table leading the efforts to avoid an unnecessary trade war. I will continue to work directly with both sides to make sure Alaska's interests are protected."
As governors of states whose economies and workforces depend on exports, we strongly urge Congress to support legislation that provides for the long-term reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) before its charter expires on June 30, 2015. The Ex-Im Bank is a crucial tool that both small and large businesses use to compete fairly in the world market, increase their exports, stimulate job creation, and contribute to the growth of our states' economies.
As the official export credit agency of the United States, the Ex-Im Bank assumes the credit and country risks that private sector lenders are unable or unwilling to accept, and without it, U.S. firms would lose many sales to overseas competitors. The Ex-Im Bank allows our companies and workers to compete on a level playing field against international competitors who receive extensive support from their own export credit agencies.
In 2014, the Ex-Im Bank supplied more than $20 billion in financing to support approximately $27 billion in exports. In that same fiscal year, the Ex-Im Bank supported more than 160,000 American jobs. And the overwhelming majority of the Ex-Im Bank's transactions--nearly 90 percent--assisted small businesses.
The Ex-Im Bank is financially self-sustaining, and operates at no cost to hard-working American taxpayers. In fact, in fiscal year 2014 alone, the Ex-Im Bank returned approximately $675 million in deficit-reducing receipts to the U.S. Treasury.
Last year, Congress reauthorized the Ex-Im Bank [for one year]. It is essential that both chambers act again, this time to pass a long-term, multi-year reauthorization.