Empty chest

Ex-Im Bank advocate group decries rescinding "Tied Aid War chest" and reducing bank's budget

By: Eric Johnson
Photo: Georg.S.V / Shutterstock.com
   A lobbying group aiming to protect a tool for U.S. export finance on Wednesday decried a move by the House Committee on Appropriations to rescind the $165 million currently held in the Tied Aid War Chest of the U.S. Export-Import Bank.
   According to the Coalition for Employment Through Exports (CEE), the Tied Aid War Chest “allows the U.S. to challenge offers of foreign concessional financing by threatening to match them with Bank funds. This threat has saved several billion dollars of U.S. exports by forcing other nations to back down from concessional financing and allowing U.S. exports to compete on an equal playing field.”
   CEE said the use of Tied Aid dropped precipitously during the 1990s and early 2000s after Congress created the fund.
   “However, China’s use of Tied Aid in the past decade has revitalized the practice among many nations and has again threatened U.S. exports,” CEE said.
   President Donald Trump recommended rescinding the war chest in his proposed 2018 Budget for the Ex-Im Bank, along with a 10 percent reduction in the bank’s operating expenses.
   “President Trump has made it a priority to support manufacturing jobs across the country, and this proposal would severely limit the Bank’s ability to improve competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers through aggressive export financing,” CEE President John Hardy said in a statement.
   “The 10 percent reduction in operating expenses will deprive the bank of the necessary resources to support small and medium sized business transactions as required under the 2015 legislation reauthorizing the Bank. The rescission of funds in the Tied War Chest will drastically limit the Bank’s ability to deter the use of concessional financing by U.S. foreign export competitors.”
   Trump has sent mixed messages about his support for the Ex-Im Bank. CEE also urged the administration to move forward with nominees to the bank’s board.