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April 19, 2022

New tool to unlock financing opportunities for US exporters

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) has voted to approve the Make More in America Initiative, a new tool it says will unlock financing for American manufacturing, strengthen America’s global competitiveness, close critical supply chain gaps, and support American jobs.

By Fi Forrest

The EXIM board of directors, led by president and chair Reta Jo Lewis, unanimously voted to approve the Make More in America initiative on 14 April, with apparel and footwear sectors welcoming the move.

American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) president and CEO, Steve Lamar, tells Just Style: “This is a logical next step in efforts to strengthen export-oriented American manufacturing. American apparel, footwear, and textile manufacturers enjoy strong export markets and we look forward to working with the EXIM Bank leadership to ensure that companies in our sector are able to access this important new facility.”

Upon passage through EXIM’s board, Make More in America will immediately make available the agency’s existing medium- and long-term loans and loan guarantees for export-oriented domestic manufacturing projects as part of President Biden’s whole-of-government efforts to strengthen the resiliency and security of America’s supply chains.

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) is the nation’s official export credit agency with the mission of supporting American jobs by facilitating US exports. 

While the Make More in America Initiative was developed in response to President Biden’s Executive Order 14017 on American Supply Chains and provides American manufacturers – particularly small- and medium-sized businesses – new access to capital to fill critical supply chain gaps. The initiative will incentivise applications in environmentally beneficial, small business and transformational export transactions (including semiconductors, biotech and biomedical products, renewable energy, and energy storage). The financing tool makes available EXIM’s existing medium- and long-term loans and loan guarantees to American manufacturing projects that export.  

“The Make More in America Initiative will create new financing opportunities that spur manufacturing in the United States, support American jobs and boost America’s ability to compete with countries like China,” says Lewis.  “The global pandemic and other recent events have exposed supply chain gaps in critical sectors like advanced manufacturing and renewable energy. EXIM’s Make More in America Initiative will be a key tool in tackling these issues, and it will ultimately help America manufacture more and export more.” 

Peter Harrell, special assistant to the President and National Security Council senior director for international economics and competitiveness, adds: “From day one, President Biden has prioritised addressing the longer-term weaknesses in our nation’s supply chains, the result of decades of underinvestment, outsourcing, and offshoring. To solve this problem, America needs to leverage every one of our nation’s tools, and I am pleased that EXIM has moved this initiative forward.” 

Make More in America financing, which complements EXIM’s existing foreign buyer financing programmes and other government programmes, will spur growth and security of critical supply chains in ways that support meeting EXIM’s core mission of supporting US jobs, it says. 

EXIM adds through its board director, Congressman Spencer Bachus, the initiative received an amendment prior to board approval. The amendment strengthened transparency and Congressional reporting measures by requiring board approval for any changes to the Initiative and providing Congress advance notice of any domestic finance transaction over US$50m – in addition to EXIM’s statutory requirement to notify Congress for all traditional transactions over $100m, it says.

Continuing issues around global supply chains were exacerbated in March as a consequence of further Covid related lockdowns.

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