February 24, 2015

AWB leads fly-in to D.C. to emphasize importance of Ex-Im Bank

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U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, D-10th District, right, meets with AWB members from around the state Tuesday morning, Feb. 24, 2015, during AWB's D.C. Fly-in to support the Export-Import Bank. (Photo by Amy K. Anderson/AWB)

Inaction in Washington, D.C., creates economic ripples that don’t stay in D.C.

That’s the message AWB President Kris Johnson and 10 Washington state business are meeting with congressional delegates this week as part of AWB’s second D.C. Fly-in.

The purpose of the trip is for business owners and leaders to urge Washington state senators and representatives in Congress to pass a long-term reauthorization of the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank. The finance and loan guarantee service is crucial for small- and medium-sized employers to compete in the worldwide export market.

AWB members making the trip include:

  • Tom Fritz, owner, Churchill's Steakhouse, Spokane
  • Mike Schwenk, executive advisor, Kurion, Inc., Richland
  • Terry Cochran, president, and Stacie Cochran, international account manager, Norwest Ingredients, LLC, Royal City
  • Tim Rasmussen, vice president, Umpqua Bank, Federal Way
  • Barry Heid, general manager, and Dan Roberts, president, Manhassett Specialty Co., Yakima
  • Gene Dougherty, CFO, Genie Industries, Redmond
  • Terry Dorsing, owner, Dorsing Family Farms, Othello
  • Jon Wyss, government affairs, Gebbers Farms, Brewster

Many people haven’t heard of the Ex-Im Bank, but it is similar to the 59 export credit agencies around the globe that provide similar tools to support their countries’ manufacturers and service providers.

Here in Washington, the bank is essential to ensuring 227 employers, 149 of which are small businesses, have access to adequate financing, loan guarantees and insurance to fund export operations, creating more American jobs. For example:

  • Norwest Ingredients, Royal City manufacturer, relies heavily on the insurance products of the bank because 65 percent of their business is exports.
  • Yakima manufacturer, Manhasset Specialty Company, also relies on the Ex-Im bank to grow its business. As a national leader in supplying music stands to schools, bands, and orchestras, Manhasset’s next step in growth is to pursue international markets. An effort that is reliant on the support of the Ex-Im Bank.

Last year, the 75-year-old Ex-Im Bank reportedly financed $37 billion in exports that helped sustain more than 200,000 U.S. jobs. Additionally, the bank contributed $1.57 billion to the U.S. Treasury in 2013, supporting federal programs.

Congress routinely has bipartisan approval of the Ex-Im Bank’s reauthorization, but with expiration of the its charter set for June the pressure is on for Congress to again move forward to reauthorize its services.

As one of the most trade-dependent states in the nation, the Ex-Im Bank plays a vital role in Washington’s continued economic growth. AWB hosted the first DC Fly-in to discuss this issue last June.

Take part in the Twitter conversation by tagging @awbolympia and using #AWBinDC and #ExIm4Jobs.