Kate Brown on Free Trade
"Grow Our Own" calls on us to invest in Oregon-based industries and businesses, and help them grow and thrive. In order for our traded sector businesses to grow, they must continue to access new markets around the globe. 95% of the world's consumers are located outside the U.S. The potential for economic growth through exports is great.
International trade supports nearly a half million Oregon jobs; in the city of Portland alone, that means about 268,000 jobs. For every one traded manufacturing job, three additional local jobs are generated.
Business Oregon is serious about keeping the state's international trade healthy. Director Sean Robbins held a "Doing Business in Oregon" seminar in Japan last month. The trip's goal was to recruit Japanese companies to open U.S. operations in Oregon. I look forward to my first trade mission to Asia in October to follow up on Business Oregon's great work.
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.