US President Barack Obama last week signed a bill to revive the country’s Export-Import Bank after being overwhelmingly approved by the Senate. The move comes more than five months after the bank was forced to shut its doors amid political pressure over its support for major US businesses such as Boeing.
The bank underwrites and guarantees financing for major satellite projects (and other export-related projects) that are built or assembled in the US. Its closure and inability to finance projects has cost the US economy jobs and many lost satellite-related contracts. It was closed in June 2015.
There are still a few hurdles to be overcome before the bank can resume full lending services, not least the appointment of an extra director in order to approve applications greater than $10 million. But at least those seeking Ex-Im financing can start generating their formal applications.
The Satellite Industry Association (SIA) on December 9th, in a statement, “applauded” the decision to provide a long-term reauthoriSation for the Bank that will be in effect until September 30, 2019.
“SIA congratulates and applauds lawmakers for reauthorising of the Ex-Im Bank,” said Tom Stroup, President of SIA. “With reauthorisation, Ex-Im can once again provide the domestic commercial satellite industry with tools needed to better compete for global sales while supporting American jobs and US technological innovation. American manufacturers have been the global leaders of the commercial satellite manufacturing market, winning 57 per cent of orders placed in 2014. However, that competitive position was threatened when the authorisation expired earlier this year. The reauthorisation of Ex-Im Bank helps ensure a level playing field for the US satellite industry.”