The charter of the Export-Import Bank of the United States expires June 30. Despite a high-profile fight in Congress, many Americans don't know what Ex-Im does. For each of the agency's final 17 work days, this space will give an example of an Ex-Im financing deal.
One of the Obama administration's industrial policy initiatives was to subsidize the sale of at least $2 billion worth of corporate jets to foreign buyers.
One such private jet export was a 2011 sale from Hawker Beechcraft to a special-purpose enterprise in China called ICBC Financial Leasing. Ex-Im loaned $75.8 million to ICBC Financial Leasing to buy the jets. (The deal is Item No. 5 on these minutes.)
ICBC Financial Leasing is a subsidiary of ICBC, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. ICBC is owned by the Chinese government, and by some measures, it is the largest bank in the world.
Hawker Beechcraft, the U.S. exporter, at the time was owned by Goldman Sachs, the investment bank.
So, the U.S. taxpayer was lending money to the largest bank in the world (owned by the Chinese government) to buy corporate jets from Goldman Sachs.
Ex-Im Myths Exploded
1) Ex-Im is a necessary tool to combat China's aggressive industrial policy: This was a direct subsidy to a state-owned Chinese industrial bank — subsidizing the very entity Ex-Im is supposedly needed to combat.
2) Ex-Im provides financing where the private sector cannot: Again, the buyer was a state-owned Chinese bank and the largest bank in the world. The seller was a company owned by Goldman Sachs. These entities are fairly capable of arranging private financing.
Past deals of the day: