In today’s global economy, competition can be fierce, but like any successful business, when you combine the skills of a dedicated workforce with innovative product offerings, you welcome the opportunity to compete against any country and open new markets abroad. That certainly is the case with Montachem International, based here in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where we have been serving the plastics industry around the globe since 1988.
In fact, we sell our wide-ranging product line to nearly 65 countries, with hopes for even greater expansion. Unfortunately, that continued growth and the local jobs needed to power it is being jeopardized by the possible expiration of the U.S. Export-Import (EXIM) Bank. Our elected leaders in Washington, D.C. are currently debating the merits of reauthorizing the bank’s mission, but in places like South Florida, we already know the answer — the EXIM Bank is an essential tool in supporting U.S. jobs by helping to finance the export of American-made goods and services to buyers across the world.
The EXIM Bank boosts American businesses – just like Montachem – by allowing us to enter challenging international markets. We have continuously turned to the EXIM Bank for insurance that minimizes the risk involved in selling our products abroad. This has allowed us to take advantage of the robust petrochemical industry growth here at home to help create plastic products that make life easier globally. As a result, Montachem has become one of the top 100 exporters in the United States and an important business anchor in our industry and the Florida community.
And that positive rate on return is being felt across the country. The EXIM Bank has worked with thousands of U.S. small businesses – approximately 90 percent of the total number of EXIM Bank deals are made with small business – and in support of nearly 2 million American jobs. This has resulted in $290 billion of exports since 2008, which means growing paychecks here at home and a higher quality of life for our families and neighbors.
EXIM also benefits taxpayers. The bank charges interest on its loans, which have returned nearly $10 billion for U.S. taxpayers. This means the bank is held accountable to hardworking taxpayers, all the while investing in countless businesses and facilitating growth in our domestic economy.
This critical support cannot be taken for granted. We have often determined that some international deals just would not be possible without EXIM Bank support, which highlights the economic and national security imperatives for reauthorization. Countries like China rely heavily on government subsidies and their own credit export agencies to prop up their businesses and push out American companies. Without EXIM, American businesses will lose out on opportunities to export abroad, which allows foreign competitors to dominate markets and expand their sphere of influence.
Congress has a responsibility to provide American businesses of all sizes with the tools needed to succeed in today’s hyper-competitive economy. Florida Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio should consider the significant benefits EXIM provides our state’s businesses and workers when deciding whether or not to support the bank.
The EXIM bank is a win-win for workers, small businesses, communities and taxpayers. Congress must reauthorize the bank this fall.
– JC Avila is General Manager of Montachem International, an international sourcing solution of thermoplastic resins and related additives to meet the needs of plastics ’converters around the globe.