The readers’ forum

Reauthorize Ex-Im Bank to help small business

 

Thanks to the Export-Import Bank of the United States, my family business, DemeTech Corp., is exporting surgical sutures and blades to more than 100 countries from our Miami Lakes facility.

Ex-Im Bank makes hard-to-finance export sales happen with a variety of direct loans, export-credit insurance and working capital guarantees for foreign buyers. It has a terrific record of creating export opportunities and high-wage jobs. Yet it is threatened by a move in Congress to abolish it by failing to reauthorize this vital job-producing agency. Opponents wrongly claim that government has no legitimate role in our economy — a view that ignores the real world of global trade.

Abolishing the Export-Import Bank would amount to unilateral disarmament in the increasingly fierce global markets that pit U.S. private enterprises against government-supported or government-owned overseas competitors. Ex-Im seeks to level the playing field by providing export credit that conventional financiers are unwilling or unable to provide.

In our case, the Ex-Im Bank enabled us to expand exports beyond blue-chip customers to countries such as Egypt and Libya that conventional financiers shun. Our variety of specialized sutures and surgical blades offer superb value but they compete against overseas exporters whose governments offer below-market interest rates, 100 percent financing or other generous terms.

Ex-Im’s credit insurance for the past four years means that we can receive timely payment for invoices that otherwise would take months — or not happen at all — and put that money back to work expanding and improving our business. This helps to keep us in the game. In just two years, we’ve gone from exporting to about 80 countries to almost 100 now. Ninety percent of our sales go to overseas customers.

Outgrowing our facility because of expanded exports, we recently moved into a new 30,000-square-foot building that belonged to a major medical device manufacturer until it closed and moved production outside the United States.

Now more than 100 DemeTech employees have jobs filling orders in our building, helping our community grow our economy by making and selling high-quality products the rest of the world wants to buy. We reclaimed more than that empty building. We reclaimed American manufacturing jobs.

And it’s not just our company. Last year, Ex-Im Bank provided $35.8 billion in financing to export from 3,400 U.S. companies and supported 255,000 export-related jobs. Nine out of 10 of those companies are small businesses like ours, not counting the many thousands more suppliers who benefit indirectly from Ex-Im financing.

Failing to reauthorize this vital agency would be a disaster for our company and many other small businesses. I urge those in Congress who care about small business owners to stand up for us by supporting Ex-Im Bank.

Karla V. Arguello, DemeTech Corp., Miami Lakes

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