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Aftermarket exporters capitalizing on Export-Import Bank to fund foreign sales

Thursday, December 14, 2017 - 09:00
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Although it may be flying under the radar for many aftermarket executives, exploring the financial programs available through the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im) could help you gain a foothold in the international sales arena.

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“A lot of people are unfamiliar with the Ex-Im Bank and the programs they offer,” reports Steve Hughes, chairman of the Auto Care Association’s International Trade Committee.

If you find the idea of global trade intriguing yet intimidating, “It would be a benefit for all aftermarket companies interested in exporting their products to get more information on this agency,” he says.

When pitching potential overseas buyers, “You can be aggressive in your sales stance,” says an Ex-Im executive who works closely with automotive-oriented clients, requesting anonymity because he is not officially authorized to speak publicly about the independent, self-sustaining federal agency – which has been attracting increased Congressional scrutiny from both sides of the aisle.

“We’re in the background of the transaction making sure everyone gets paid,” the executive explains. Ex-Im’s involvement can be especially helpful for sealing a deal if you’re meeting with a prospective international customer at a trade show, for example, and questions arise about credit and payment guarantees.

“Most people don’t realize how small our transactions can be,” the executive points out. Insurance policies are available for contracts in the $25,000 to $50,000 range and above, plus there are options for providing “working capital that can cover multiple export orders.”

“For many U.S. exporters, a lack of access to financing can stand in the way of sales growth. Commercial lenders do not always have the capacity or willingness to provide loans for higher-risk markets or transactions,” says James G. Burrows, Ex-Im’s senior vice president for small business.

“Ex-Im can work with a company’s lender to help secure financing,” he says. “The funds may be used to pay for materials, equipment, supplies, labor and other inputs to fulfill export orders; post standby letters of credit to serve as bid bonds, performance bonds, or payment guarantees; and purchase finished products for export.”

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