LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Ex-Im Bank isn’t a major defense financier

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I am a fan of The Washington Times and have subscribed since its inception. I particularly enjoy the Commentary section, since it often takes the opposite view expressed in Washington’s other major daily, the Washington Post, to which I also subscribe. I respect the American tradition of freedom of the press and the right of writers to express their interpretation of events through their own personal view.

However, I fear that “Banking on America” (Commentary, July 10) may lead readers to think that the Export-Import Bank of the United States is a major financier of military exports. The statement “Such cuts to Export-Import Bank loan guarantees … will be ruinous for the defense industry base” makes it appear that the Ex-Im Bank directly supports military exports through its programs. After a 25-year career as a loan officer with the Ex-Im Bank, I can assure readers that it does not.

In fact, the Ex-Im Bank is specifically prohibited from supporting sales of military equipment and to military entities under its legislative authorization. Per the Ex-Im Bank User’s Guide: “Limited exceptions may be made for humanitarian items and for small marine vessels and aircraft for coast guard/border patrol and drug interdiction purposes.” And the bank has the authority to support sales of “non-lethal defense articles and services, the primary end use of which will be civilian.” The defense industry is not a major recipient of Ex-Im Bank support.

Ex-Im Bank’s support for U.S. exports is vital to our economy and a demonstration to other nations that the United States will match the government support given to their exporters. Congressional interference in its operations hurts U.S. exporters, but the case for the Ex-Im Bank should be made on the basis of its overall contribution, not on support for the defense industry.

DANIEL V. DOWD

Potomac

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