WASHINGTON: The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) concluded its virtual 2020 Annual Conference, the largest conference in EXIM’s history with over 1,700 registrants from across the United States. The conference included keynote speakers, panel discussions, and networking events designed to help U.S. companies expand their exporting opportunities.
EXIM President and Chairman Kimberly A. Reed kicked-off the final day of EXIM’s 2020 Virtual Annual Conference with a moment of silence for the victims of 9/11, and the firefighters, police, emergency personnel, and medical caregivers who have devoted their lives to the cause of saving others.
In her opening remarks, Chairman Reed also provided an overview of the day’s agenda and outlined EXIM’s role in the recent commitment by Kosovo and Serbia to economic normalization.
“Over the last two days, conference participants have had the opportunity to hear from leaders in government, academia, and the private sector, as well as connect with potential customers beyond our country’s border,” said Chairman Reed. “All of us at EXIM and across the entire Trump Administration are committed to supporting the U.S. businesses and workers not only who attended the conference but all across the United States as they export they’re ‘Made in the USA’ goods and services all around the world. Along with my fellow Board members Director Spencer Bachus and Director Judith Pryor, I thank our wonderful speakers, who took the time to share their insights, the EXIM staff, and all our conference participants.”
Following Chairman Reed’s opening remarks, she participated in a discussion with U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, focused on the global outlook for the U.S. Energy Industry and how EXIM and DOE can partner together to support energy exports.
“Under this Administration, America is now the world’s largest producer of oil and gas, one of the three largest global LNG exporters, and a leader in cutting-edge battery storage and clean energy technologies,” said Secretary Brouillette. “Our steadfast support for American energy along with the work being done at the EXIM Bank has created opportunities for more jobs, infrastructure investment and development, and enhanced energy security here in America and to our allies around the world.”
The morning plenary session concluded with a panel discussion, moderated by The Wall Street Journal Energy Reporter Tim Puko. The panel discussion featured Meg Gentle, President and CEO of Tellurian; John Hopkins, Chairman and CEO of NuScale Power; and Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar, discussing the opportunities for U.S. companies to compete around the globe and the role that EXIM has in supporting U.S. energy producers.
“Global demand for liquefied natural gas will double by 2040 and unlocking this affordable fuel for emerging economies means additional infrastructure investment. EXIM plays a crucial role in supporting these economies and providing a way to source safe and reliable American natural gas,” said Gentle.
“American solar manufacturers have firsthand experience with the destructive impact of granting unfettered access to state-subsidized Chinese companies that are ultimately seeking to dismantle any competition through unfair means. As this dynamic plays out globally, we look forward to partnering with EXIM to establish a level international playing field for American-made solar,” said Widmar.
A third set of four concurrent breakout sessions occurred as part of EXIM’s 2020 Annual Conference. Isabel Galdiz, Vice President of International Relations at EXIM moderated a panel titled, “Ask the Experts: ECA Activity Around the World,” which included David Drysdale, Head of Export Credits Division, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); Dominik Kloiber, Co-founder and Commercial Director, TXF Media; and Laszlo Varnai, Associate Director, Berne Union. In this data-driven session, panelists discussed the challenges American exporters face and explored the wider world of export credit agencies (ECAs) from different perspectives. The panel discussed: data available to observers interested in understanding the official export finance market; the changing environment of the global ECA arena; and, which ECAs are emerging as leaders in various regions and sectors and the things they are doing to win bids.
Steven Freshour, Vice President of Business Credit at EXIM spoke at a second concurrent breakout session titled “Small Business Track: Overview of the Working Capital and Supply Chain Guarantee Programs.” Mr. Freshour provided an overview of these two programs including an outline of how each program works; who qualifies and overall program eligibility; uses and borrower benefits, and modifications to provide COVID-19 relief.
A third concurrent breakout session titled “The Multiplier Effect: Supporting Large Deals Through Services Exports,” offered Annual Conference attendees the opportunity to learn more about EXIM’s Engineering Multiplier Program, which provides financing for preliminary engineering and design services that are critical to winning larger deals. The session was moderated by Douglas Frye, Senior Loan Officer, and Business Developer and EXIM and featured Bob Doyle, Director of Project and Structured Financing, Honeywell UOP; Mark Erdly, AIA, Studio Director, Gensler; and David G. Hester, Managing Director for Technical Development, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation. Panelists discussed the program’s benefits for U.S. service providers, exporters, and suppliers, as well as how working in conjunction with the U.S. Trade Development Agency and U.S. International Development Finance Corporation may lower the all-in cost of project financing.
The fourth-morning concurrent breakout session titled “U.S. LNG and the Global Export Landscape” focused on how Liquified Natural Gas has transformed the global energy landscape. Attendees heard from leading companies in the industry about current trends and export opportunities. The panel was moderated by Ambassador Richard Morningstar, Founding Chairman, Global Energy Center, Atlantic Council, and featured Samantha Carl-Yoder, Director, International Affairs and Marketing, Tellurian; Martin Hupka, Chief Commercial Officer and General Counsel, Sempra LNG; and Chris Smith, Senior Vice President, Cheniere Energy.
In the afternoon, attendees had an opportunity to listen to a series of three-afternoon concurrent breakout sessions as well. The first session titled “Small Business Track: Where in the World are the Deals?,” was moderated by Alex Sanchez, President, and CEO, Florida Bankers Association. Attendees heard from financial industry leaders including Andre Gazal, Managing Director, Global Head of Export Finance, Credit Agricole CIB; Meaghan McCrath, Global Head of Syndications, International Finance Corporation; and T.J. Raguso, Executive Vice President and Director of Global Banking, Zions Bancorporation, about where they are doing deals, potential future opportunities, and what they’re hearing from others in trade finance.
The second-afternoon concurrent breakout session was titled “Streamlining the Medium-Term Application Process: Engineering & Environmental Considerations,” and was moderated by Michael Sams, the Senior Electrical Engineer at EXIM. Applications for EXIM’s medium-term loans, guarantees, and insurance involve coordination with EXIM’s Engineering & Environmental Divisions. EXIM staff including, Tiffin Caverly, Vice President Engineering & Environment; Stephen Parsons, Managing Director, Environmental & Social Policy Analysis; and Roger Yerger, Senior Mechanical Engineer, provided attendees with key insights to help customers navigate policies within the EXIM application process.
A third concurrent breakout session titled “EXIM Anti-Fraud Strategy” provided attendees the opportunity to hear from EXIM staff regarding EXIM’s commitment to a code of business ethics, a fraud risk management framework, due diligence, cyber fraud protection, and overall best practices. Panelists from EXIM included John Connor, Assistant General Counsel for Litigation Fraud and Compliance; Walter Hill, Vice President, Credit Policy and Compliance; Gabriela Smith-Sherman, Chief Information Security Officer; and Lisa Terry, Senior Vice President, and Chief Ethics Officer.
During the afternoon plenary session, U.S. National Economic Council Director Larry A. Kudlow delivered keynote remarks, highlighting EXIM as a key factor in the United States’ ability to compete with China. Following his remarks, he participated in a question and answer session with Chairman Reed.
During the afternoon plenary session, EXIM Board Member Judith D. Pryor moderated an armchair discussion with Professor Benedict O. Oramah, President of Afreximbank, focused on U.S.-Africa economic relations, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and the EXIM-Afreximbank relationship.
“The landmark African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement is expected to stimulate unprecedented growth and create the largest free trade area in the world,” said Director Pryor. “With the U.S. government launch of Prosper Africa, the U.S. stands ready in its support of the AfCFTA to make it a success and to strengthen the economic partnership between the U.S. and Africa. The long-established institutional relationship between Afreximbank and EXIM is a shining example of a partnership designed to create economic opportunities in both Africa and in the U.S.”“Despite the dark cloud cast by the COVID19, Africa remains firmly on the path to an unprecedented economic transformation,” said President Oramah. “Trading under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement is set to commence in January 2021 and with it new opportunities for trade and economic development. Out of the 55 fragmented and atomistic economies will emerge a cohesive market of 1.3 billion mostly young and dynamic people with a combined GDP of over $2.5 trillion. The partnership between Afreximbank and U.S. EXIM offers a tremendous opportunity for U.S. businesses to participate in the massive infrastructure build- out that awaits while boosting two-way trade.”
“The landmark African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement is expected to stimulate unprecedented growth and create the largest free trade area in the world,” said Director Pryor. “With the U.S. government launch of Prosper Africa, the U.S. stands ready in its support of the AfCFTA to make it a success and to strengthen the economic partnership between the U.S. and Africa. The long-established institutional relationship between Afreximbank and EXIM is a shining example of a partnership designed to create economic opportunities in both Africa and in the U.S.”
“Despite the dark cloud cast by the COVID19, Africa remains firmly on the path to an unprecedented economic transformation,” said President Oramah. “Trading under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement is set to commence in January 2021 and with it new opportunities for trade and economic development. Out of the 55 fragmented and atomistic economies will emerge a cohesive market of 1.3 billion mostly young and dynamic people with a combined GDP of over $2.5 trillion. The partnership between Afreximbank and U.S. EXIM offers a tremendous opportunity for U.S. businesses to participate in the massive infrastructure build- out that awaits while boosting two-way trade.”
The afternoon plenary session concluded with a panel discussion on the role of official export credit agencies in 2020, moderated by OECD’s David Drysdale. Panelists included Heads of Export Credit Agencies including Ms. Mairead Lavery, President and Chief Executive Officer, Export Development Canada (EDC), Canada; Mr. Gabriel Cumenge, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Export Finance, Ministère de L’économie et Des Finances/DG Tresor (Ministry of Economy and Finance and Recovery), France; Dr. Christoph Herfarth, Head of Export Financing and Export Credit Guarantees, FederalMinistry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), Germany; Ms. Michal Ron, Chief International Officer, Servizi Assicurativi del Commercio Estero (SACE S.p.A), Italy; Mr. Atsuo Kuroda, Chairman and CEO, Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI), Japan; Mr. Nikita Gusakov, CEO, Export Credit and Investment Insurance Russia (EXIAR) and Senior Vice President, REC Group, Russia; Mr. Louis Taylor, Chief Executive and Accounting Officer, United Kingdom Export Finance (UKEF), United Kingdom; Ms. Kimberly Reed, President and Chairman of the Board, Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM), United States.
“It is imperative for the competitiveness of our nation, when private sector financing is not available, that EXIM help level what has over recent years become a most unlevel global playing field,” said Chairman Reed. “That said, EXIM is a demand-driven agency and a lender of last resort. The United States cannot unilaterally disarm, but I am committed to fostering greater transparency, a level playing field for exporters around the world, and reduced global reliance on export credit agencies.”
EXIM hosted the 2020 G12 Heads of Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) meeting virtually from its Washington, D.C. headquarters on September 8-9, where the first-ever G12 joint statement was released.
The conference concluded with closing remarks from Chairman Reed, who thanked EXIM staff and speakers, and highlighted how EXIM can support conference attendees, and all exporters across the United States.
Chairman Reed concluded the conference saying, “When a business uses EXIM you are not just helping yourself. You are helping this country stay strong in the face of challenges and threats that are different from those foreign powers posed in the last century. As back then, Americans will once again unite and stand against aggressors, stay strong, and use our adaptive ingenuity to prevail.”
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2014 The Global Indian New Network (TGINN)