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Guest column: Selling Ohio products abroad and creating jobs

The following is a guest column from Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown:

Every additional day that Congress waits to appoint board members to the Export-Import Bank could mean lost contracts for Ohio businesses and lost jobs for Ohio workers.

When fully functioning, the Ex-Im Bank is a vital tool for Ohio manufacturers and businesses, helping them export Ohio products around the world, compete in the global market, and create jobs.

Republicans and Democrats, workers and businesses, the Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, and labor groups all agree – we need a strong, functioning Ex-Im Bank to make sure Ohio businesses don’t lose jobs and contracts to foreign competitors.

Between 2007 and 2015, Ex-Im supported $3 billion in financing and guarantees to 350 Ohio businesses, including 226 small businesses. That’s why the House and Senate voted overwhelmingly in 2015 to reauthorize the bank.

But since then, Congress has starved the bank of the nominees it needs to function and crippled its ability to support American jobs. This hurts Ohio manufacturers, who in the past exported more than $400 million a year in products using Ex-Im credit assistance. Last year, without the Ex-Im Bank at full strength, that amount was cut in half.

Virtually every other major exporting country has its own version of the Ex-Im Bank, including China. Without the support of a fully functioning Ex-Im Bank, Ohio businesses are at a competitive disadvantage.

Big Ohio employers like GE and Boeing and small businesses alike have all spoken out about how critical Ex-Im is to Ohio jobs.

Last week, I talked with Dick Rogovin, Chairman of U.S. Bridge in Cambridge, Ohio, a company that makes bridge components with American steel and employs 125 Ohioans. Rick is hoping to grow his business with the help of financing through the Ex-Im Bank. But he can’t do that if the Ex-Im Bank isn’t working as it should.

Mr. Rogovin is one of many. There are thousands of suppliers that contribute parts and labor to export. They employ thousands of Ohioans and they also rely on a fully functioning Ex-Im Bank.

When you have manufacturers and workers, Republicans and Democrats all in agreement, you know how important this is to Ohio’s economy.

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