News From the
Committee on Small Business
Nydia M. Velázquez, Chairwoman
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Even though last year the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Eximbank) received a clear directive to increase its focus on small businesses, export opportunities for the nation’s entrepreneurs continue to lag. Today, a Congressional panel found that a main reason opportunities for small firms have not materialized is the incomplete work by Eximbank in implementing 2006 law.
“We need to level the playing field for U.S. small businesses looking to enter into the export market, and I am very troubled that Eximbank is not helping to make this a reality,” said Nydia M Velázquez, Chairwoman of the House Committee on Small Business.
The Export-Import Bank’s 2006 reauthorization created a small business division within the Bank. It also created a separate bureau focused on assisting women- and minority-owned small businesses and required additional lending personnel to serve small firms. Despite these changes, Eximbank’s small businesses transactions have fallen by 10 percent.
“Congress meant for Eximbank to bolster the economy by leveraging the power of the American small business sector,” said Chairwoman Velázquez. “With the value of the dollar plummeting, small businesses should be able to look abroad for increased market opportunities. Clearly, the bank is not helping them do so and that means it is not doing its job.”
The Committee heard from witnesses that the bank is not utilizing the private sector adequately and doing nothing to erase cumbersome regulations that hamstring small businesses. In fact, Eximbank is failing to provide the sorts of tools needed to help small businesses compete on more equal footing with their heavily subsidized foreign competitors. It also found that the bank’s assistance to minority-owned small businesses continues to lag.
“All of America’s entrepreneurs deserve our support-especially in the face of the sharp economic downturn,” added Velazquez. “Eximbank must comply with the law’s directives. Anything less hurts American small business and is unacceptable.”