Nate LaMar is Draper’s Regional Sales Manager for Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and India. He also oversees government relations for Draper. Today Nate shares one issue he is currently dealing with: The Export-Import Bank.
In 2003, I was first appointed to represent Draper on the Indiana District Export Council (DEC) by United States Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans, then was re-appointed in 2007 and 2011. Each state has at least one DEC. As volunteers, we work closely with the U.S. Dept. of Commerce’s Export Assistance Centers in each state, as well as with their state-level counterparts, to promote exports and to advise small and medium enterprises (SMEs), who are new to exporting. In 2012, I represented Indiana at the National DEC Forum in Washington, DC. In addition to serving as International Regional Manager, I also manage government relations for Draper at the federal, state, and county levels. As such, I work not only with the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, but also with members of Congress and state legislators, and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, whose events I occasionally attend.
Earlier this summer, the U.S. Chamber asked me whether Draper had experience with the Export Import Bank of the United States (commonly known as Ex-Im). Ex-Im makes loans to foreign companies so they are able to buy products manufactured in the USA. I told them we had worked with Ex-Im on one occasion in 2007, when I helped a small customer in Mexico to obtain Ex-Im bank financing for a $50,000 order from Draper. The U.S. Chamber asked me to write about this experience to help them promote the renewal of Ex-Im’s charter, which will expire on September 30, unless Congress renews it.
Ex-Im is under attack by certain members of Congress from both the far-left and far-right. This is despite the fact that, as a public corporation, Ex-Im made a 2013 profit of $1.06 billion, which was contributed to the federal government’s net revenue. Despite being self-funding, and NOT subsidized on the taxpayers’ dole, enemies of Ex-Im Bank accuse it of “crony capitalism,” commonly using Boeing as their bogeyman. While it is true that Boeing is among the largest corporations in the USA, some of whose overseas customers have bought its aircraft through Ex-Im financing, the vast majority of American manufacturers who benefit from Ex-Im financing to their overseas clients happen to be SMEs, such as Draper, which account for nearly 90% of Ex-Im’s transactions.
For American companies, Ex-Im is a free program, of which more Indiana companies should take advantage. If more of Indiana’s manufacturers were even aware of Ex-Im, they could create even more jobs. With the highest percentage of jobs derived from manufacturing, Indiana is the most manufacturing-intensive state. Therefore, renewal of Ex-Im creates Indiana jobs.
Following the U.S. Chamber’s publication of my account of Draper’s experience with Ex-Im, the Coalition for Employment through Exports (CEE) invited me to represent Indiana’s SMEs on an August 20 national media call. After an international banker and I spoke on this conference call, we then fielded questions from reporters ranging from Reuters, to The Hill, to the Ft. Wayne Journal-Gazette.
On Sept. 4, I testified on the affects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (aka Obamacare) on Draper at a field hearing of the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, which took place in Greenfield. This also provided me an opportunity to “lobby” certain members of Indiana’s Congressional delegation, who were in attendance, to vote for the renewal of Ex-Im. These included Rep. Luke Messer, Rep. Susan Brooks, Rep. Larry Bucshon, and Rep. Todd Rokita.
The good news is that Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s administration is gradually reviving export promotion at the state-level by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), thanks to Indiana Secretary of Commerce Victor Smith and IEDC President Eric Doden (who has visited Draper), with both of whom I have met regarding promotion of Indiana manufactured products overseas. Draper realizes that “a rising tide lifts all boats,” and is therefore a much appreciated donor to the New Castle – Henry Co. Economic Development Corporation (NC-HC EDC).
According to the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, jobs with companies that export pay an average of 6% more than jobs with companies that do not export. In addition, companies that export can help stem the tide of Indiana’s brain-drain by providing jobs for former military linguists, seasonal jobs for foreign language teachers (whose skills are worth more than schools can afford to pay them), and other professional jobs.
If Ex-Im ceases to exist after September 30, then our nation’s trade deficit will widen even more. This is because almost all other industrialized nations subsidize their equivalents to Ex-Im, but WITH their citizens’ taxes. Therefore, this would make it easier for other countries to buy their products, rather than American-made products.
While Ex-Im has benefited Draper only once, we have received a couple of other inquiries from potential export customers regarding whether we use Ex-Im. Therefore, I’m sure Ex-Im could benefit Draper again in the future, IF renewed by Congress.