Recently, small-business owners from the north country attended a roundtable in Ogdensburg that Sen. Gillibrand and I hosted on trade support services available through the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank).
The Ex-Im Bank is a federal agency with a strong record. In 2012, it supported more than $50 billion in U.S. exports and more than 225,000 American jobs. Of the 3,400 companies that benefitted that year, more than 85 percent were small businesses.
Importantly, it also accomplishes these impressive results while paying for itself and making a deficit-reducing return for the taxpayers. In Fiscal Year 2013, the Ex-Im Bank returned more than $1 billion to the U.S. Treasury.
Increasing trade creates sustained demand for local products and services in new markets. However, small businesses can struggle with initiating these trade relationships because of their smaller size and lower tolerance for risk. By using market-driven services like the Ex-Im Bank export credit insurance program that insures accounts receivable from foreign sales and guarantees those payments for loans and for other banking arrangements, small businesses can seize opportunities to grow through trade.
Exporters in Northern New York have important geographic advantages. Our region is near large Canadian metropolitan marketplaces, and companies that locate here enjoy well-maintained road, port, rail and air transportation options that connect to major U.S. and international trade hubs. With these benefits on hand, companies in Plattsburgh, Watertown, Potsdam and Gloversville have all been able to grow their exports through support from the Ex-Im Bank.
The Export-Import Bank is helping businesses in our region, but many more would benefit from its services. I encourage local business owners and managers to learn about these trade financing services. To learn more, contact the New York Export-Import Bank office at 212-809-2650, or find the agency online at www.exim.gov.
U.S. Rep. Bill Owens
The writer is the Democratic U.S. representative of New Yorks 21st Congressional District.