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WASHINGTON, July 17 -- The office of Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., issued the following news release:
U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, joined small businesses from across Louisiana to highlight the important role the Export Import Bank of the United States plays in job creation across the state and to call for Congress to re-authorize it as soon as possible. The Bank provides direct support to nearly 100 small businesses in all six Louisiana Congressional districts, and hundreds more across the supply chain, to ship their products and services overseas. Louisiana is the sixth-largest exporter in the United States.
"As Congress debates whether or not to authorize the Export-Import Bank, we have a stark choice. We can either export goods and services and import jobs, or we can export jobs and import more goods and services," Senator Landrieu said. "I'm supporting the Ex-Im Bank because it supports Louisiana. And it supports Louisiana businesses and Louisiana jobs. We want to hold up signs that say 'we're hiring', not 'we're closed go elsewhere.'"
Sen. Landrieu argued that the Export-Bank will help Louisiana take advantage of the ongoing American energy revolution to export more energy technology and services abroad.
Added Sen. Landrieu: "Louisiana is at the forefront of an energy transformation and revolution. While this bank helps many, many different kinds of companies, it's going to be particularly important for businesses to have that bank to rely on to export our energy technologies around the world. Louisiana is so well positioned along with Texas and states like Oklahoma to take advantage of this energy revolution, so I really don't know why any of our Congressional members would be standing in the way of Louisiana exporting its technology to other places around the world. The Ex-Im Bank is a major factor, as you can see from the support it has from so many businesses and organizations."
Mike Rongey, the CEO of Reliable Industries in Elmwood, La., said that the Export-Import Bank has been a cornerstone of his business for 25 years, and that it helps level the playing field for small business in Louisiana.
"We are a small business located in New Orleans for more than 30 years, with a staff of about 38 people. Ex-Im bank has been the cornerstone of how we underwrite our international business," Rongey said. "Presently, we have 600 customers in 60 countries and our export sales have been in excess of $100 million dollars, the bulk of which have been supported by ExIm bank insurance facilities. In the absence of that, our business would be comprised, and as a small business owner, I appreciate what Ex-Im has done. We are given the same advantages of larger companies. That gives us the tools to travel and to promote South Louisiana as a place to do business. We would be harmed if it were not renewed."
Bob Wetta, the CEO of DSC Dredge in Reserve, La., said that failing to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank would decrease his revenues and workforce by half.
"DSC is a manufacturing business of dredges and dredging equipment, with annual sales around the $40 million range. A little over 50 percent of that goes toward exports. Currently, DSC employs a little over 150 people and does business in over 40 countries," Wetta said. "We have used the Ex-Im bank since 2006 to assist our foreign buyers in buying U.S. Products. Without Ex-Im, we would basically decrease our revenues and our workforce in half. Ex-Im helps level the playing field between us and our foreign competitors."
David Barber, CFO of Omni Specialty Packaging in Shreveport, La., said that his company is a great example of how the Export-Import Bank helps companies do business abroad and that it helps businesses grow and hire more people.
"The Ex-Im Bank for us is important because we use the credit facility, the insurance on export receivables. It's very important for us, because if we don't have the insurance on foreign receivables it's very hard to use that collateral to borrow that money for working capital," Barber said. "We employ about 250 people, most of those manufacturing jobs are in the Shreveport area. We wouldn't have gotten our foreign business off the ground without Ex-Im in 1999. I'm advocating for the people who need it at the beginning of their process. We're proof that it works."
Warren Bares, the Vice President of J. Maxime Roy Inc. and the largest broker of Ex-Im services in Louisiana, argued that the Export-Import Bank provides critical services that smaller companies can't access in the private market.
"As a broker of credit insurance, we work with Ex-Im bank and private insurers. I can see what Ex-Im Bank does, and their extreme value to our customers," Bares said. "If their credit insurance was not available, private market credit insurance would fill some of the gaps but for the vast majority of customers there would be nothing available. They would be on the street looking and the private market could not fill what Ex-Im Bank does. Ex-Im Bank does in the credit insurance largely what the private insurers cannot and will not do."
In 2013, Senator Landrieu received the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's prestigious "Spirit of Enterprise" award due in part to her leadership to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank in 2012.