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Federal, state and local officials say opening of Export-Import Bank office in Detroit will lead to more jobs


January 28, 2013

By David Muller

DETROIT, MI – The opening of a federal Export-Import finance center will help create jobs in Detroit and in the state, federal, state and local officials said Monday at the Detroit Regional Chamber headquarters in Downtown Detroit.

“Our goal is to make things and grow things in Michigan, and then create jobs through exports,” U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow said. “For every $1 billion dollars in goods or services exported, we create 7,000 jobs. So we want to export our products, not our jobs, and the way to do that is expanding our support, particularly for small businesses.”

The financing center, an office of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, will be based in the U.S Export Assistance Center. One of its key roles will be providing export insurance to companies wary of not getting paid for shipping their products abroad. It also fills private financing gaps and offers counseling on exporting.

Gov. Rick Snyder told local business leaders at Monday’s announcement that he knows first hand the hesitation of selling items abroad.

“I can tell you it’s exciting, it’s great to say you’re selling to a new country, but it can be hard,” Snyder said. “It can be very difficult in terms of figuring out how to get paid, simple things like that.”

Snyder stressed however that all services should be “streamlined” for local businesses, and noted that agencies such as Automation Alley, the Michigan Economic Development Center and the Detroit Regional Chamber can also aid business looking to sell outside of the country.

He said it is important to keep things simple. “Let’s just think about it – we make stuff and we need somebody to sell to,” Snyder said.

Export-Import Bank Chairman and President Fred Hochberg said that the federal agency authorized more than $500 million to Michigan businesses in 2012.

“In Michigan, about 30 percent of the work we do here is small business,” Hochberg said. “Nationwide it’s around 20 percent, so this is not only a state of large businesses – Dow, Ford and many other companies that are exporting – but also small businesses at significant levels. And if we have more states like the state of Michigan, we will not only double exports in five years, we’ll exceed that.”

One of the stated goals of the Obama administration is to double exports from 2009 levels by the end of 2014. Michigan plays a fairly large role in that effort as one of the top ten manufacturers and exporters in the country.

Detroit as a region is fourth in the country in terms of exports, according to Stabenow, who was appointed to the President’s Export Council by both President Bush and President Obama

Eighty-eight percent of the businesses the Export-Import Bank works with are small businesses, Hochberg said.