For those in the manufacturing community, one of the significant events of the summer was when Congress allowed the authority of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im) to lapse. The main goal of the bank is to provide financing to allow for the export of U.S. products, including working with private banks to help secure financing for overseas sales.  The result of this inaction, as reported by the Bank itself, was that “as of midnight on June 30th the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im) ceased processing new applications or engaging in new business.”

Over the past few months, a firestorm of controversy has ensued.  Groups such as the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and large companies such as Boeing have voiced their displeasure with the failure of Congress to re-authorize the bank.  Others claim that the Bank is simply a pathway for large corporate welfare.  In this Wall Street Journal article, an opponent of the bank opined that “The Congressional Budget Office reported in May that Export-Import Bank programs, if subjected to the fair-value accounting methods required of private banks, actually operate at a deficit that will cost taxpayers some $2 billion over 10 years, in addition to the bank’s operating costs.”

As Congress comes back from its summer recess, the stakes continue to be high and this issue bears watching by manufacturers and distributors of all sizes — particularly those that export products. We will keep you posted of any developments.

 

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Photo of Jeffrey White Jeffrey White

I am a partner at Robinson+Cole who handles corporate compliance and litigation matters for both domestic and international manufacturers and distributors that make and ship products around the world. My clients have ranged from publicly traded Fortune 500 companies to privately held and/or…

I am a partner at Robinson+Cole who handles corporate compliance and litigation matters for both domestic and international manufacturers and distributors that make and ship products around the world. My clients have ranged from publicly traded Fortune 500 companies to privately held and/or family owned manufacturers. For those looking for my detailed law firm bio, click here.

I am often asked why I have focused a large part of my law practice on counseling manufacturers and distributors. As with most things in life, the answer to that question is tied back to experiences I had well before I became a lawyer. My grandfather spent over 30 years working at a steel mill (Detroit Steel Company), including several years in its maintenance department. One of my grandfather’s prime job duties was to make sure that the equipment being used was safe. In his later years, he would apply those lessons learned in every project we did together as he passed on to me his great respect and pride for the manufacturing industry.

Because of these experiences, I not only feel comfortable advising executives in a boardroom, but also can easily transition to the factory floor. My experience has involved a range of industries, including aerospace and defense, chemicals, energy, pharmaceuticals and life sciences, nutritional and dietary supplements, and retail and consumer products. While I have extensive experience in litigation (including product liability and class actions), I am extremely proactive about trying to keep my clients out of the courtroom if at all possible. Specifically, I have counseled manufacturers and distributors on issues such as product labeling and warranties, product recalls, workplace safety/OSHA, anti-trust, and vendor relations, among other things. I always look for the business-friendly solution to a problem that may face a manufacturer or distributor and I hope this blog will help advance those efforts.