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Wendy Tirollo: Export-Import Bank helps my business and the entire NH economy

July 30. 2015 5:26PM

THIS NEWSPAPER argued in an editorial on Tuesday the Export-Import Bank is not critical to New Hampshire’s economy because “only 36” Granite State companies used the Bank in the last seven years. Not only did this argument fail to note that Ex-Im has supported more than 2,300 jobs in our state since 2007, but it also doesn’t take into account small businesses like mine (TRM Microwave, based in Bedford) that supply Ex-Im Bank users and benefit our state.

The aerospace and defense industries provide a perfect example of how much the Export-Import Bank actually does for our economy. A few months ago, the Union Leader featured a story on the first-ever New Hampshire Aerospace and Defense Export Consortium conference (NHADEC), which brought together some of the 350 Granite State companies involved in aerospace and defense.

The NHADEC conference focused on building the supply chain for New Hampshire’s export markets and increasing the Granite State’s competitiveness in the global marketplace. Last year, aerospace and defense industry exports increased by 25 percent and now make up 4 percent of New Hampshire’s gross domestic product.

But without the Export-Import Bank, businesses like mine might not have the necessary tools to compete globally. That’s because Ex-Im steps in when private banks cannot provide competitive financing and helps put businesses and many others on an equal playing field with the 60 other countries that provide supportive financing for their own local businesses. Without the bank, our country would be the only major economy without an export credit agency, and American exporters would be at a major disadvantage.

By leveling the global playing field, the Export-Import Bank also helps ensure that small businesses can compete in emerging markets. For states like New Hampshire, where our economy depends on small businesses like mine, I believe our elected leaders should be doing everything they can to ensure that our businesses continue to expand and compete not just here, but around the world. Last year, the bank supported close to $30 million in New Hampshire exports, much of which came from advanced manufacturing businesses like my own.

Additionally, the 36 New Hampshire companies that have benefited from Ex-Im exported more than $400 million in goods and services. While the Union Leader may think that 36 businesses isn’t enough to justify Ex-Im’s reauthorization, I know that $400 million in exports represents a significant contribution to our state’s economy. With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside of the United States, it would be a mistake not to try and get more of our Granite State goods into the international marketplace.

In this day and age, when the government is racking up the debt and deficit, it’s equally as important to recognize that the Ex-Im Bank returned $600 million to the Treasury. As a taxpayer, I wish every agency did that. There is a highly competitive and dynamic economy emerging, and advanced manufacturers across New Hampshire are on the front lines. I’m so proud of Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen for being vocal advocates for Ex-Im and the folks who really make this new economy work.

Wendy Tirollo is owner and CEO of TRM Microwave in Bedford.

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