George Ramsey, a business lobbyist with the Charleston Chamber of Commerce, recently traveled to Washington, D.C., for the “Exporters for Ex-Im Fly-In.”
Ramsey joined over 600 business leaders and fellow lobbyists to discuss the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im), then reported on the trip in a blog post.
“This issue is important to every member of (the Charleston) business community for two reasons,” Ramsey said. “(First), Ex-Im is of critical importance to Boeing South Carolina and their ability to successfully compete with global aircraft manufacturers. In North Charleston, eight of every 10 of the 787s being assembled in South Carolina are eligible for Ex-Im financing. If Ex-Im is shut down, Boeing will lose their competitive edge – a fact that could impact the more-than-8,000 local jobs.”
“Secondly, and just as important, Ex-Im supports the growth of small business," Ramsey said. "The chamber’s World Trade Center Charleston (WTCC) is directly tied to Ex-Im. As an Ex-Im partner, the WTCC can provide additional resources in trade-finance expertise to businesses interested in exporting their products and services.”
In meeting with the state’s congressional delegation. Ramsey learned that the Ex-Im reauthorization has strong political support in South Carolina. “One of the most vocal proponents of the Ex-Im Bank reauthorization is Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who is currently working to add sponsors for his Export Import Bank Reform and Reauthorization Act of 2015," Ramsey said. "Senator Graham’s act would extend the bank’s authority from June 30, 2015, until September 30, 2019, while making several reforms to the bank’s structure to ensure taxpayers are protected, while allowing the bank to continue its important mission.”
The legislation is expected to be introduced in the coming weeks. To that end, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), chairman of the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, has promised two hearings for the Ex-Im reauthorization, which are scheduled to be held in April. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is planning a week of floor debates on the reauthorization legislation in May.
“Our team will continue to update you as this important legislation progresses,” Ramsey said. “I was very impressed as I came away from the visit with our elected leaders. We are lucky to have the leadership and support from our entire regional delegation."