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Shutdown looming May 31

(Hollis, NH) – The Export-Import Bank is important to New Hampshire businesses that rely on its assistance to sell goods overseas and expand into foreign markets, said U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) in a visit today to Skelley Medical in Hollis. The bank will shut down on May 31 if Congress does not pass a reauthorization.

“Helping small businesses grow their exports is one of the best things we can do to strengthen our economy and help companies provide quality jobs in New Hampshire,” Shaheen said.  “The Export Import Bank is a bipartisan program that costs taxpayers nothing and has directly supported $255 million in export sales from New Hampshire over the past five years. We need to come together in a bipartisan way to keep the bank open so great companies like Skelley Medical can continue to grow.”

Skelley Medical sells refurbished medical equipment to foreign hospitals through partnerships with various distributors.   After learning of the Export-Import Bank at a small business export event hosted by Shaheen’s office, Skelley acquired an insurance policy with the bank that has allowed it to explore new deals in more international markets than before.

“New Hampshire aims to be the best state for economic growth for small businesses,” said Bill Skelley, President of Skelley Medical. “We have clearly seen that priority come through in the support from Senator Shaheen and her office and the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development. As we grow internationally, the Export-Import Bank has become a critical component to enable our partners and distributors overseas to obtain financing. Without this support our growth would be severely hindered.”

The Export-Import Bank is the official export credit agency of the United States. It provides direct loans and loan guarantees to foreign buyers of U.S. made goods, which is critical for buyers of large products such as airplanes. It also provides working capital loans to small businesses that are exporting, and provides insurance for exporters in case a foreign buyer fails to pay. In all these cases, the bank is filling gaps in the private market. It is an important tool for U.S. companies seeking to compete with foreign firms, which often get aggressive trade financing support from their national governments.

In 2011 alone, the Export-Import Bank supported an estimated 288,000 American jobs at more than 3,600 U.S. companies and facilitated $41 billion in exports. The bank pays for itself through the fees it collects and is projected to actually reduce the federal deficit by $900 million over five years, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

Shaheen cosponsored a bipartisan measure in the Senate to reauthorize the bank for four years. Reauthorization is supported by hundreds of U.S. companies, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Business Roundtable. It has enjoyed broad bipartisan support in past reauthorizations, passing without objection in both the House and Senate in 2006.

A member of the Senate Committee on Small Business, Shaheen has consistently worked to aid small companies in reaching foreign customers. Last year she hosted a Small Business Committee field hearing in Manchester with U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) to examine ways to help small businesses export. Shaheen also held roundtable discussions with New Hampshire small business owners on the federal resources available to help small businesses export with Export-Import Bank Chairman and President Fred Hochberg.