President Trump was not initially a fan of the Export-Import bank, but he as since changed his mind and said he now realizes how it benefits the US. If you have not heard of the Export-Import Bank of the United States Federal Government you are not alone. This institution provides credit to foreign countries and companies that are looking to purchase American made or operated products. They extend credit to customers that do not qualify for loans from commercial lenders.
The most intriguing aspect of the US Export-Import bank is which companies benefit the most from their loans. 75% of Ex-Im Bank’s loans benefit the Boeing Company, Bechtel Corporation, or the Chevron and Phillips Corporation.
According to the annual financial report for the fiscal year 2015, the Ex-Im bank gave out $21 billion in loans, a sharp increase from a total of $15.3 in 2014. These loans will support an estimated $26.4 billion of U.S. exports to markets worldwide.
To justify their existence the Ex-Im bank heavily publicizes, to the extent that they publicize at all, the fact that $4.4 billion went to small businesses, which made up 21% of their loans. However buried in the data of their annual financial report is the reality that the other 79% is made up of four enormous US corporations. And 77% goes to the aircraft sector(namely Boeing, a company who is flush with US military contracts), and the energy sector.
The products that the lead beneficiaries of these loans are primarily exporting are not directly beneficial to the citizens of the countries on the receiving end. A large majority of the loans are going to countries that are looking to purchase air crafts. These purchases directly fund the military industrial complex that is so often referenced. One of the primary players in the military industrial complex is Boeing, a corporation who has the majority of US military contracts when it comes to air power.
Now I cannot say that it is all bad, these contracts do provide jobs to employees at the Boeing Corporation, but at what cost? And is it fair to any potential competitors that might one day like to challenge Boeing?
It could also be said that the Export-Import bank funds the endgame goals of many of the US military’s foreign adventures. Recently in the Financial Times of London, a columnist was urging President Obama to allow the Export-Import Bank to finance a natural gas pipeline through Afghanistan to India as a winning strategy for the Afghanistan/Pakistan war.
This line of thinking takes very little into consideration but the bottom line of the large corporations that benefit from such a pipeline financed by the Ex-Im bank. The stakes of the countries involved would see little of the revenue trickle down past the country’s leadership.