Statement by AIA President and CEO David F. Melcher urging President Trump to withdraw the nomination of Congressman Scott Garrett to chair the Export-Import Bank of the United States and submit nominations for a full Board of Directors that will support the Bank’s key mission.
Arlington, Va. — Since the reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) in 2015, AIA has continually stressed the need to establish a quorum on the five member Ex-Im Board of Directors and make the Bank fully functional to ensure America’s aerospace and defense industry — which supports 2.4 million American workers — can compete on a level playing field. That is why we initially met President Trump’s announcement in April of his support for Ex-Im and its mission with great optimism.
Since then we have grown increasingly troubled by the absence of any indication that former Congressman Scott Garrett, the proposed future Chairman of the Ex-Im Bank, has evolved his position on the Bank since 2015 when he openly argued that Congress should take every opportunity to “keep the Export-Import Bank out of business.”
Aerospace workers across the country need an Ex-Im champion, not an ardent foe with a long public record of wanting to eliminate the Bank’s support of U.S. manufacturers, at the helm of the Bank. Our companies, workforce and nation cannot afford any doubt about a nominee’s commitment to the mission of the Bank or its full functionality. That is why we join the American manufacturing community in urging the withdrawal of the nomination of Scott Garrett for Chairman of the Board of the Ex-Im Bank. We further encourage the President to nominate a full slate of five Board members who will ensure American competitiveness by once again making Ex-Im fully functional.
While Ex-Im supports American companies of all sizes pursuing export transactions which cannot otherwise secure private sector financing, most of our industry’s Ex-Im supported transactions are worth more than $10 million and require a quorum for approval. Export opportunities in our sector are heavily contested by foreign competitors who enjoy significant support from their own governments. When we win these orders, we contribute to the largest American manufacturing trade surplus: $90.3 billion in 2016. Further, American small and medium sized companies continue to benefit after the initial sale by providing goods and services in the higher-margin Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul aftermarket; 56% of our industry’s annual exports can be connected to the supply chain.
Aerospace companies — small, medium and large — need a Chairman and a full slate of Ex-Im Board members who will bolster American export sales opportunities that lead to job growth here at home. Our companies, workforce and nation deserve an Ex-Im Bank with leaders who are fully committed to the success of Ex-Im and to removing any barriers to its full functionality.