News Column

Heitkamp, Fargo Business Call for Congress to Reauthorize Export-Import Bank, which Supports Jobs, Economy in ND

July 1, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D., July 1 -- The office of Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., issued the following news release:

Joined by a North Dakota company that has sold more than $4 million worth of exports through support from the U.S. Export-Import Bank, U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today said it would be foolish for Congress to not reauthorize the proven job-creating bank.

As a member of the Senate Banking and Small Business Committees, Heitkamp is working to help lawmakers understand how the Export-Import Bank supports local economies in North Dakota and around the nation. According to statistics from the Export-Import Bank, the agency supported $97 million in exports from North Dakota since 2007, helping small businesses grow, expand, and hire more American workers, and supporting the economies in communities across North Dakota and the country.

During a national conference call with Heitkamp, other Senators and exporters, Fargo-based agriculture machinery manufacturer Amity Technology CEO Howard Dahl spoke about the opportunities created because of the financing the Bank provides international customers who want to purchase Amity's high-quality, North Dakota-made equipment. Amity is an industry-leading firm specializing in agriculture machinery and was named North Dakota's 2013 Exporter of the Year. The Export-Import Bank has helped support more than $8 million in export sales at Amity.

"Only special interests in Washington, D.C. could spin a story of an agency that has supported $456 billion in U.S. exports - at no cost to the taxpayer - into a bad thing," said Heitkamp. "North Dakota businesses - particularly small businesses - have been incredibly successful in exporting their high-quality products to the international market and stand ready to export even more while supporting jobs in our communities. Amity Technology in Fargo is just example of how the Export-Import Bank helps businesses grow. Now is the time to support a program that has a proven record of boosting our economy and providing good-paying jobs."

"Over the past decade we have sold almost $300 million of product in foreign markets. More than 30 percent of our jobs in North Dakota are export driven. Our main competitors are European companies who have very aggressive financing plans from their governments," said Dahl. "It would be ideal for government supported export financing to be unnecessary, but to compete on a level playing field it is necessary and successful. It can make the difference in getting a sale or not. And the Export-Import Bank does all of this without costing taxpayers anything. Additionally, the agency has been extremely responsive to small businesses like ours as we have continued to grow with its support."

Earlier this year, Heitkamp helped host Fred Hochberg, Chairman and President of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, at a forum to discuss export opportunities with North Dakota businesses and how the Export-Import Bank can help support such efforts. Heitkamp also brought Hochberg to Case New Holland to see the Fargo plant and learn about how the company has grown because of the help of the Export-Import Bank.

The Export-Import Bank, the authorization of which is set to expire at the end of September, is an independent federal government agency and the official export credit agency of the United States. Since 2012 alone, the Bank supported $21 million in sales from North Dakota companies. North Dakota is a major exporter, with nearly 2,000 companies exporting products from the state.

The Export-Import Bank does all of its work at no cost to taxpayers. In fact, the Bank actually generates money and helps lower the deficit - paying more than $1 billion to the U.S. Treasury in 2013 alone. Additionally, more than 3,400 small businesses around the country depend on the Export-Import Bank to finance export deals.

Other examples of North Dakota firms' sales that are supported by Export-Import Bank financing include: Crary Industries and Titan Machinery in West Fargo, Gussiaas Family Farm in Carrington, Kringstad Ironworks in Park River, Puretec International in Valley City, and WCCO Belting in Wahpeton.

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Source: Targeted News Service

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