Export-Import Bank of United States: A Valuable Tool and Partner For Manufacturers

How Ex-Im Bank works was featured on the Manufacturing Council of the Inland Empire’s show, “Manufacturers Corner (the show was hosted by Roy Paulson, CEO of Paulson Manfacturing, Inc. and the Chair of the National District Export Council). To view the video, go to youtu.be/hI9_-l7ijTA.
The international market represents a huge opportunity for small manufacturers. The Export-Import Bank of the United States last year alone helped small manufacturers secure $16.6 billion in financing to enable American entrepreneurs compete abroad, win more business and turn direct and indirect export opportunities into real sales.
Emerging markets overseas represent a huge, but risky, opportunity for small manufacturers. Many have found the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) can help reduce the risk and increase the chances of success. Last year alone, Ex-Im Bank helped small manufacturers secure $16.6 billion in financing to enable American entrepreneurs compete abroad, win more business and turn direct and indirect export opportunities into real sales, said the Regional Director of Ex-Im Bank of United States Western Region, Sandra Donzella.
Ex-Im Bank is the official export credit agency of the U.S. Its mission is to assist in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to international markets. “The main message our agency likes to give is to use Ex-Im Bank to tap into the resources that we offer to help you compete, and win business internationally while making sure you get paid,” Donzella said in an interview on the Manufacturing Council of the Inland Empire’s show, “Manufacturers Corner.”
Corona-based Combustion Associates Inc. turned to the Ex-Im Bank seven years ago. The maker of packaged combustion and gas turbine-power generation systems received a lead from the U.S. Department of Commerce about the small West African country of Benin requesting bids for a 40 megawatt power plant. “It (Ex-Im Bank) helped us get our foot in the doorway and it made our customer look at us much more favorably because we had the U.S. Government behind us on this project,” said Combustion Associates Inc. Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Kusum Kavia.
Ex-Im Bank facilitated and provided a guarantee for the financing critical for CAI to meet its payroll and other obligations. In her appearance on “Manufacturers Corner” with Donzella, Kavia called Ex-Im Bank a valuable sales tool. “It has really helped us look bigger with our overseas customers,” Kavia said. “Last year, we got a ‘shout-out’ from the U.S. President because we were exporting our products overseas.”
CAI wasn’t the only small business Ex-Im helped. About 90 percent Ex-Im Bank’s transactions last year were for small businesses looking to export such things as beauty care products and medical test kits. “Ex-Im Bank exists to support American jobs,” Donzella said. The agency does that by offering a number of products, such as its “Export Working Capital Guarantee” program. It’s specifically designed to assist small and midsized companies that have a shot at the export market. “Our role is that of a guarantor,” Donzella said. “We’re cosigning on behalf of the manufacturing company to facilitate their ability to get financing from their bank.” Donzella added if a lender is not willing, then Ex-Im Bank also has the ability to provide a direct loan for amounts up to $500,000 under its “Global Credit Express” program.
Ex-Im also offers small businesses a credit insurance program as a substitute for expensive letters of credit at a fraction of the cost. Ex-Im can also help on much bigger loans, and it can assist the exporter’s buyer secure financing too. Ex-Im Bank’s job is to help the small manufacturer minimize the risk of seizing big opportunities overseas. “Why? Because we want you to compete, grow your exports, and hire more people,” Donzella said.
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