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Luetkemeyer Delivers Remarks at Hearing to Examine the Role of the Ex-Im Bank Amid Intensifying Economic Competition with China

Washington, June 27, 2024 -

Today, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on National Security, Illicit Finance, and International Financial Institutions, led by Chairman Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03), is holding a hearing entitled “The Role of the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank of the United States Amid Intensifying Economic Competition with China.”


Watch Chairman Luetkemeyer’s opening remarks here.

Read Chairman Luetkemeyer’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery:

“From the outset of this 118th Congress, my top priority as Chairman of this Subcommittee on National Security, Illicit Finance, and International Financial Institutions has been addressing what I believe to be the biggest challenge to not only United States security but also global security.  

“That threat is the bid for global economic domination posed by Communist China. 

“Unlike the United States, the CCP does not subscribe to the rules-based order that has governed trade and export credit financing for nearly a century.

“The CCP demonstrates daily that it plays by its own rules and will do anything to gain footholds in strategic sectors vital to security. 

“China’s highly aggressive actions in export credit financing blend beyond economic advancement and are clearly an effort to enhance its global power and economic might.  

“It is critical, the United States compete and win in this arena against China.

“One important tool for doing so is the topic of today’s hearing, the Export-Import Bank of the United States or EXIM.

“It has been five years since this Committee last held a hearing on EXIM, leading up to its most recent reauthorization in 2019, and it has been nine years since the sitting Chair of the Bank testified before us, in 2015.

“So, we are glad to welcome the current Chair and President of EXIM, Ms. Reta Jo Lewis to testify before us here today.

“EXIM was established during the Great Depression, and over the decades since, it has helped support exports of U.S. and goods and services in cases where the private sector is unwilling or unable to provide financing.

“Through direct loans, loan guarantees, insurance, and an innovative reinsurance risk-sharing program, the Bank boosts American small businesses, and creating or sustaining tens of thousands of American jobs across the country. 

“EXIM’s ability to manage risks successfully is why it is one of the rare government-run entities that actually makes a profit for American taxpayers and has sent approximately $9 billion back to the U.S. Treasury for debt reduction since 1992. 

“To orient the Bank to directly combat the economic threat from Communist China, as part of its 2019 reauthorization, Congress directed EXIM to establish the ‘China and Transformational Exports Program’ or CTEP. 

“However, five years in, although it seems this program is having some impact, there is much more that it could do.

“I have always viewed EXIM as having a vital role in the United States’ ability to promote global economic leadership. 

“We saw the harm when EXIM’s charter lapsed between 2015 and 2019 leading to a significant increase of projects being funded by foreign export credit agencies–and jobs which should have gone to American workers instead going to China.

“There is enormous opportunity in restoring and bolstering America’s position as a global energy superpower. 

“EXIM’s charter rightfully requires that it consider deals based on banking criteria and not political considerations such as whether an industry is disfavored, as hydrocarbons are by the current administration. 

“To your credit, Chair Lewis, on your watch EXIM approved hydrocarbon projects in Indonesia, and Bahrain.  And the green orthodoxy criticized you for doing so.

“Despite those correct decisions, it would be natural for you and those you lead at EXIM to be cautious about acting independently. There must be enormous political pressure to ignore your charter by applying a green filter to transactions.

“That is why it is so worrying to this Committee that major projects, particularly the enormous natural gas projects in Mozambique, have been delayed and remain unfunded by EXIM, leaving tens of thousands of American jobs waiting.

“Similarly, nuclear power is an area where America needs to restore its role as a global leader, and EXIM could help do that.

“In these and other areas, I believe EXIM can help ensure a level playing field in our global geoeconomic competition with China. But for the Bank to play that role it must be managed competently. 

“That is why my colleagues, and I were concerned by a recent Inspector General report that cited significant challenges at EXIM surrounding the organizational culture, employee morale and high attrition rates.

“In the OPM’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey EXIM plummeted from 12th place in 2021 to dead last among 30 small federal agencies for Best Places to Work in Federal Government.

“So, Chair Lewis, I hope to hear from you today just what you, and the rest of EXIM leadership are doing to address these alarming trends.  

“I appreciate your willingness to come before this Committee to not only tell us about some of EXIM’s successes, but also to tell us about how you plan to continue to make it better. I look forward to your testimony.”


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