[Satnews] Satellite Industry Association (SIA) President Tom Stroup issued the following statement that urges Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank of the United States:
“As lost opportunities for domestic commercial satellite manufacturers continue to mount, SIA urges Congressional leadership to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank). Without Ex-Im Bank, U.S. commercial satellite manufacturers are increasingly noncompetitive in a global marketplace where foreign buyers account for roughly 75 percent of all commercial satellite sales.
“Since the closing of Ex-Im Bank, the United States has had at least three pre-existing commercial satellite orders withdrawn, lost other awards, and been barred from other competitions entirely. This is just the tip of the iceberg. In the highly competitive commercial satellite manufacturing market, support from export credit agencies (ECAs) can be the difference between the winning proposal and a competitive one. And, in some cases, ECA support is a required component of the proposal. The longer the Ex-Im Bank remains closed, the greater the damage will be to U.S. satellite manufacturers and the hundreds of local businesses that supply them.
“American manufacturers have been the leaders in the global commercial satellite manufacturing market, winning 57 percent of orders placed in 2014. Congress risks allowing this competitive edge to slip by failing to ensure a level playing field for American-made satellites. Access to financing is a crucial element in winning satellite business – given that most commercial satellites cost hundreds of millions of dollars, raising the funds to order spacecraft is time-intensive, complicated, and can make or break a business plan. Foreign ECAs, recognizing the growing importance of the sector, have been aggressive in offering competing export credit deals for new satellite operators.
“Since 2010, Ex-Im has financed 16 satellite projects worth $4 billion, supporting tens of thousands of U.S. jobs. Satellites had been Ex-Im’s fastest-growing category of financial activity, expanding from about $50 million annually in 2007-2009 to more than $1 billion annually in the last three years. This activity has generated a net profit for the Ex-Im bank, returning funds to U.S. taxpayers.
Our industry can dominate the market if Congress ensures a level playing field with European satellite manufacturers, all of which have access to foreign ECA support. Congress must reauthorize Ex-Im as quickly as possible.”
SIA is a U.S.-based trade association providing worldwide representation of the leading satellite operators, service providers, manufacturers, launch services providers, and ground equipment suppliers. Since the creation of the organization almost 20 years ago, SIA has advocated for the unified voice of the U.S. satellite industry on policy, regulatory, and legislative issues affecting the satellite business. For more information, visit www.sia.org.