EXIM Board Approves $91.5 Million in U.S. Export Financing for Project in Senegal

WASHINGTON – The Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) yesterday unanimously approved approximately $91.5 million in loan guarantee financing that supports U.S. exports of design engineering and construction services to the Republic of Senegal. The transaction will increase access to reliable electricity for rural communities throughout Senegal while supporting an estimated 500 U.S. jobs in 14 states: California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

The transaction – which is expected to bring electricity to approximately 330,000 Senegalese in more than 400 villages – will advance four of EXIM’s priorities as set by Congress. Specifically, this transaction supports a small-business exporter, Weldy-Lamont LLC of Mt. Prospect, Illinois; the export of U.S. manufactured goods and services to sub-Saharan Africa; renewable energy technology through the export of solar panels; and the “Program on China and Transformational Exports” as outlined in EXIM’s recent reauthorization. United States-based Weldy-Lamont was selected for the project over foreign competition being supported by at least four other governments, including China.

This transaction also advances the goals of the Trump Administration’s Prosper Africa and the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA) initiatives, which aim to substantially increase two-way trade and investment between the United States and Africa.

“The selection of Weldy-Lamont for this project is a significant win for not only for this Illinois-headquartered small business and its workers across fourteen states, but also for the United States and Senegal,” said EXIM President and Chairman Kimberly A. Reed. “Building on my discussion with Senegal’s Minister for Economy, Planning, and Cooperation Amadou Hott during our October 18, 2019, Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing ceremony, this transaction demonstrates Senegal’s willingness to consider alternative financing and export including those from the United States, for critical infrastructure needs beyond Chinese sources. We are pleased to support this U.S. small business as it exports its ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ renewable energy products to sub-Saharan Africa.”

“This deal fulfills several of EXIM’s goals, including supporting small businesses and competing with China on a global scale,” said EXIM Board Member Spencer Bachus III. “There’s no more important time for EXIM than today. With the spread of coronavirus, our job will be more challenging, but it will be more important than ever.”

“I can think of no better first project for us with the Republic of Senegal than this Weldy-Lamont deal to provide rural electrification to about 415 villages,” said EXIM Board Member Judith Pryor. “This deal is part of a whole-of-government approach that encompasses the goals of both Prosper Africa and Power Africa, and we are honored to work with our sister agencies toward these goals.”

The financing was approved under EXIM’s MOU with Senegal’s Ministry of Economy, Planning and Cooperation. The Senegal National Electricity Agency (Senelac) will be the borrower in the transaction and the buyer of the exports. Senegal’s Ministry of Economy, Planning and Cooperation will provide a sovereign guarantee of the financing. JP Morgan Chase is the lead arranger and mandated lender. The total cost of the project is estimated to be $100 million, with EXIM supplying 81.5 percent of the funding.

For the project, Weldy-Lamont – a Chicago-area small business with fewer than 20 employees – plans to source from a large U.S. supply chain to procure American-manufactured electrical and solar-energy equipment, as well as a variety of services. EXIM’s financing is expected to support an estimated 500 American jobs in 14 states.

The proposed project will consist of low-voltage power lines along existing roads to rural villages, with more remote villages to be served by the establishment of a mini-grid of stand-alone solar units and limited low-voltage lines. The completed project will reduce the need for community-based diesel generation of electricity and will connect hundreds of villages to the grid.

The EXIM Board initially approved a preliminary commitment on Oct. 30, 2019. In addition to EXIM, other federal agencies involved in promoting the selection of Weldy-Lamont for the project include the U.S. Departments of State and Commerce, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

EXIM Small Business Outreach and Relief Efforts

During the open portion of the meeting, the Board received an update from EXIM’s Small Business Division. Senior Vice President of Small Business Jim Burrows noted that since EXIM’s board quorum was restored in May 2019, EXIM has authorized approximately 1,635 small business transactions, totaling $1.7 billion, and supporting thousands of U.S. jobs.  

Earlier this month, EXIM instituted temporary relief measures that provide assistance to U.S. businesses, their buyers, financial institutions, and American workers negatively impacted by COVID-19 (coronavirus). Complete information is available on the coronavirus response page. “EXIM recognizes that in the months following the COVID-19 outbreak, exporting may be a challenge for many of our nation’s businesses, especially small businesses,” said Burrows. “EXIM staffers are working tirelessly to ensure our nation has the proper programs in place to provide U.S. exporters with the financing and other products necessary to export ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ goods and services.”

Office of Small Business Director of Outreach and Education Elizabeth Thomas focused on EXIM’s new digital outreach strategy, which was launched in November 2019, alignment with associations whose members would benefit from EXIM’s services, and direct customer outreach. Since the digital strategy kickoff, EXIM has engaged over 2800 “new to EXIM” contacts and attributes 73% of FY 2020 authorizations to digital outreach. Particularly given this time of COVID-19, “digital outreach allows us to stay connected with small businesses and provide much needed support in a safe and healthy way,” said Thomas.

EXIM Open for Business in 191 Countries

In additional to the voting on the Senegal project during the closed portion of the meeting, the Board of Directors also heard from EXIM’s Enterprise Risk Committee and approved changes to EXIM’s Country Limitation Schedule (CLS) that are effective April 6, 2020. The changes will be reflected at that time on EXIM’s website.

“As elevated demand for EXIM support, as well as support from competitor export credit agencies around the world can be counter-cyclical in nature, EXIM will be needed even more over the next several months to accomplish its mission to support U.S. jobs through exports,” said EXIM Chief Risk Officer Ken Tinsley, “I am confident in EXIM’s ability to execute this mission successfully while at the same time protecting the U.S. taxpayer.”

The CLS is a document that expresses whether EXIM is open or closed for business in a given market. Country conditions in markets in which EXIM is open must meet EXIM’s Charter-mandated requirement of a reasonable assurance of repayment. EXIM’s Board has established a linkage between the reasonable assurance of repayment mandate and the country risk ratings from the Interagency Country Risk Assessment System implemented by the Office of Management and Budget. These ratings, which are subject to routine evaluation, reflect the repayment risk of doing business in a market and are required to be used by all U.S. government agencies engaged in cross-border credit activities to estimate expected loss. With this update, EXIM is open for business in 191 countries.

ABOUT EXIM:

EXIM is an independent federal agency that promotes and supports American jobs by providing competitive and necessary export credit to support sales of U.S. goods and services to international buyers. A robust EXIM can level the global playing field for U.S. exporters when they compete against foreign companies that receive support from their governments. EXIM also contributes to U.S. economic growth by helping to create and sustain hundreds of thousands of jobs in exporting businesses and their supply chains across the United States. In recent years, approximately 90 percent of the total number of the agency’s authorizations has directly supported small businesses. Since 1992, EXIM has generated more than $9 billion for the U.S. Treasury for repayment of U.S. debt. 

U.S. Funding for the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs

Today, Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump announced a new partnership in support of the White House-led Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP). The partnership between the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) will expand the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE).

AWE was created in 2019 and launched in 26 countries around the world to support W-GDP, which aims to economically empower 50 million women in the developing world by 2025.

“W-GDP is the first ever whole-of-government approach to women’s economic empowerment, developed intentionally to inspire collaboration on best programs and partnerships,” said Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump. “I am proud to see the State Department and U.S. Africa Development Foundation partner together to expand the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) in support of W-GDP. W-GDP is focused on scaling programs that will have maximum impact for women and communities around the world.”

In 2020, to help achieve W-GDP’s goals, ECA is expanding AWE globally, doubling the number of countries to reach more women, and partnering with USADF in Africa on this important effort.

This new U.S. government interagency partnership will provide select AWE graduates in Africa with seed funding to start and scale their enterprises. Beginning this year, through 2025, USADF will provide up to $10 million in grants to the most promising African AWE graduates. In 2020, funding will be awarded to AWE graduates from the following countries: Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

USADF believes Africa’s growth and prosperity will be driven by women. In 2019, women social entrepreneurs and women-led enterprises constituted approximately 66% of USADF’s total investees. USADF is partnering with the State Department on AWE to promote African women’s entrepreneurship and increase their access to capital, markets, technical assistance, and mentorship.

AWE supports Pillar 2 of W-GDP by providing women with the knowledge, skills, and networks needed to create sustainable businesses and enterprises. Through an inclusive learning community and mentoring opportunities, women from around the world will explore the fundamentals of business, including creating business plans and raising capital, with the goal of building a better future for their families and communities across Africa and around the world.

BEA: Direct Investment by Country and Industry, 2018

The Bureau of Economic Analysis released direct investment by country and industry 2018 statistics on July 24.

The U.S. direct investment abroad position, or cumulative level of investment, decreased $62.3 billion to $5.95 trillion at the end of 2018 from $6.01 trillion at the end of 2017. The decrease was due to the repatriation of accumulated prior earnings by U.S. multinationals from their foreign affiliates, largely in response to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The decrease reflected a $75.8 billion decrease in the position in Latin America and Other Western Hemisphere, primarily in Bermuda. By industry, holding company affiliates owned by U.S. manufacturers accounted for most of the decrease.

The foreign direct investment in the United States position increased $319.1 billion to $4.34 trillion at the end of 2018 from $4.03 trillion at the end of 2017. The increase mainly reflected a $226.1 billion increase in the position from Europe, primarily the Netherlands and Ireland. By industry, affiliates in manufacturing, retail trade, and real estate accounted for the largest increases.

Other highlights from the direct investment statistics for 2018:

  • The U.S. direct investment abroad position decreased for the first time since 1982 due to repatriations of $776.5 billion by U.S. multinationals. By country, nearly half of the repatriations were from Bermuda and the Netherlands. By industry, U.S. multinationals in chemical manufacturing and computer and electronic products manufacturing repatriated the most.
  • The foreign direct investment in the United States position was concentrated in the U.S. manufacturing sector, which accounted for 40.8 percent of the position.

Foreign Direct Investment in the U.S. Rises in 2018

Graphic on New Foreign Direct Investment Expenditures by Type, 1996-2018. (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)

On July 2, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released updated annual statistics on the amount and characteristics of new investments in the United States by foreign investors.

Expenditures by foreign direct investors to acquire, establish, or expand U.S. businesses totaled $296.4 billion in 2018, up 8.7 percent from $272.8 billion in 2017.

Additional highlights of the statistics on new foreign direct investment for 2018:

  • Expenditures for acquisitions were $287.3 billion, expenditures to establish new U.S. businesses were $5.3 billion, and expenditures to expand existing foreign-owned businesses were $3.8 billion.
  • Total planned greenfield investment expenditures—expenditures to establish new U.S. businesses and to expand existing foreign-owned U.S. businesses—for investments initiated in 2018, which include both first-year spending and planned spending in other years, totaled $30.8 billion.
  • Employment at newly acquired, established, or expanded foreign-owned businesses in the United States was 430,600 in 2018.

Opening Remarks by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross at the 2019 SelectUSA Investment Summit

Thank you, Karen, for that kind introduction, and a good morning to all of you. Welcome to the Sixth Annual SelectUSA Investment Summit.

Thank you, everyone, for making the trip to Washington, D.C., to learn about the great investment opportunities throughout the United States.

We appreciate the time you are taking from your busy schedules to investigate opportunities to grow your enterprises here in the most innovative country in the world.

The response to this year’s Summit was so strong that we had to add overflow rooms due to capacity limitations. Even with that, we had to turn down some late responders.

Thank you to the state economic development delegations who are here and to the country delegations in attendance.

We very much appreciate the support of all our embassies in recruiting attendees, and the 120 members of the U.S. diplomatic corps who have traveled with your country delegations to Washington for this event.

And a special thank you to the nearly 1,400 foreign delegates from 78 markets, who are here today. We hope that you have a productive next two days.

We are also thrilled that four Cabinet Secretaries, and Larry Kudlow, Director of the White House National Economic Council, will be addressing the conference; as will Ivanka Trump, who will be with us tomorrow.

It’s a clear demonstration of the commitment of the entire U.S. government to embracing and encouraging your investments in the United States.

We also have eight Governors attending:

The Governor of Indiana, Eric Holcomb;
Governor Matt Bevin, from Kentucky;
Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan;
Mississippi Governor, Phil Bryant;
The Governor of Oklahoma, Kevin Stitt;
Mike DeWine, the Governor of Ohio;
Puerto Rico Governor, Ricardo Rossello;
and the Governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer.

All of them are interested in hosting you in their states.

This is my third Investment Summit. I look forward to it every year. It is an exciting three days.
Please use this event as a springboard to visit the states to learn just how committed they are to working with you to develop new business opportunities.

Nowhere else but in the United States will you find such an advantageous mixture of innovation, entrepreneurship, diversity, a dedication to hard work, and an incredibly high quality of life.

Our unique, dynamic population of 328 million provides companies with direct links to every global market.

Opening operations in the United States provides your company with access to the wealthiest and most discerning consumers in the world. Being close to American customers drives the digitization of your operations and your products, making them more appealing everywhere in the world you sell them.

The SelectUSA Investment Summit is the largest annual economic development conference in the United States. The companies and economic development officials in attendance make connections and help create the successes that come from the event.

Past attendees have announced almost $104 billion in new investment projects within five years of attending the Investment Summit.

Those projects support more than 167,000 American jobs.

That tells me a few things:

First, that the executives who attend this event are ready to grow and renew their companies.
Second, that companies know that investing in the United States will help assure their long-term competitive viability, not only in the United States, but also in their home countries.

Foreign firms who have invested in the United States know that if they are successful here, they will be successful anywhere else in the world.

And, third, the Summit provides our economic development leaders from the states and territories with a unique opportunity to work with your company and, perchance, to close a deal.

Year after year, this Summit brings the right people together in one place to meet and develop life-changing partnerships, and life-long friendships.

It is important for you to know that America is, and always will be, open for business.

We are a society that welcomes new companies from abroad, in ways that most foreigners find surprising, and refreshing.

We are a society that embraces free-market capitalism as an economic model that fosters optimism, and opportunity for all. More than 7 million Americans are gainfully working for foreign-owned firms in the United States.

Any company that has opened a facility in the United States knows just how hard Americans work.
They are dedicated to learning and using the latest technologies to grow existing businesses, and to help start new ones.

The United States welcomes foreign companies of all sizes, and in a wide range of industries.
French sporting goods retailer “Decathlon” attended last year’s Investment Summit and recently opened its first outlet in Emeryville, California.

The company said the SelectUSA Investment Summit provided it with the legal, regulatory, and economic understanding it needed to succeed.

While at the Summit, the French company also connected with officials from the California economic development community. These officials continue to support the company and its indigenous growth.

In just a year, Decathalon added 97 workers in California, and has access to the incredibly powerful consumer base on the West Coast.

On the larger side of the size spectrum, South Korean energy storage company SK Innovation attended SelectUSA Investment Summits in 2013 and 2018.

Just three months ago, I had the honor of attending the groundbreaking of SK’s $1.7 billion electric-battery facility in Commerce, Georgia.

I was joined by SK Innovation CEO and President Jun Kim; Executive Vice Chairman, Jae-won Chey; Georgia Governor Brian Kemp; and leaders from across Georgia to celebrate the company’s investment in Georgia.

Taiwan’s Lung-Soon Ocean Group is creating 50 jobs in Astoria, Oregon, in a $10 million pet food processing plant that will open next year.

Canada’s New Flyer opened a new $30 million, 300,000-square-foot bus manufacturing facility in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, and will hire 350 workers.

The company from Pakistan, Midwest Fertilizer, is opening a $2.4 billion fertilizer plant in Indianapolis next year.

Finally, South Korea-based LOTTE Chemical USA entered a joint venture with Texas-based Westlake Chemical Corporation for a $3.1 billion ethane cracker complex in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

The facility will employ 250 people directly, and support 2,000 indirect jobs in the area.
The United States welcomes all of these companies with open arms, just as it has welcomed thousands of other foreign-owned companies that have committed more than $4 trillion in FDI in the United States.

The United States is the world’s biggest destination for FDI.

And there are good reasons why.

We have reduced the corporate tax rate; provided 100 percent of capex; and created Opportunity Zones — all to substantially improve the competitiveness of U.S.-based producers.

We are eliminating senseless regulations that hinder your investment in new plants and equipment.

We are defending American producers from foreign nations that dump government-subsidized products into the U.S. and global markets, or that have refused to play by the global rules of trade.
We will protect your most strategic asset: your intellectual property. We will staunchly defend your business from nations that are selling fakes and counterfeits.

And we are training a new generation of skilled workers.

Ivanka Trump will describe our new worker and training programs later in the summit.

These pro-business and workforce policies are paying off.

America continues to astound the world with its economic growth rates.

At 3.6 percent, our unemployment rate is lower than it has been in decades, and incomes are finally on the rise.

The United States remains a land of opportunity.

For the seventh straight year, global CEOs ranked the U.S. at the top of A.T. Kearney’s FDI Confidence Index.

This is due in large part to our openness to new ideas, and to investment from companies like yours.

Taking advantage of everything available to you at this Investment Summit will positively change both the course of your business, and your own personal life trajectory.

The networking and match-making sessions will give you the chance to reach new partners, and to meet people who are here for only one reason: To help you succeed.

Our plenary discussions and breakouts provide you with the viewpoints of government officials and the world’s top business leaders who have successfully navigated the path to growth in the United States.

I wish you all the best of success this week in making contacts and working together.Please, take time to visit all of the booths in the exhibition hall. Each has something unique to offer.

The representatives here from the states and territories are looking forward to working with you.
Thank you and welcome again to this exciting event.

Ivanka Trump and Larry Kudlow to Provide Keynote Remarks at 2019 SelectUSA Investment Summit

WASHINGTON – Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow will deliver keynote remarks at the SelectUSA Investment Summit on June 11-12, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced today. The Investment Summit, hosted by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, is the premier Federal event showcasing business investment opportunities available throughout the United States to global leaders.

Kudlow will deliver lunch remarks on June 11. Trump will speak on a workforce development panel on June 12.

“This Administration’s policies are further solidifying the United States as the premier location to do business,” Kudlow said. “The SelectUSA Investment Summit is an excellent platform to tell a global audience that investing in the United States is a critical step to doing business in the modern global economy, and I am excited to be a part of it.”

“While President’s pro-growth policies have attracted the attention of business leaders and entrepreneurs around the world, it’s our incomparable workforce that often seals the deal for new investment projects. I’m proud to join Secretary Ross at this year’s SelectUSA Investment Summit to discuss the unparalleled opportunity to invest in our roaring economy and how we are working to ensure our workforce is equipped with the skills and talents for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” Trump said.

“The SelectUSA Investment Summit is where global business potential meets business opportunity here in the United States,” Secretary Ross said. “We are proud that these White House leaders will be joining this year’s SelectUSA Investment Summit and sharing the message that this is the best place in the world to do business.”

Secretary Ross and Ivanka Trump are co-chairs of the National Council for the American Worker and the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board which seeks to bring more Americans off the sidelines and into the workforce by improving jobs data transparency, skills-based hiring and training, advancing opportunities for lifelong learning, and promoting multiple pathways to family-sustaining careers.

Ross and Trump will also join Investment Summit business attendees as they sign the Pledge to America’s Workers. The Pledge is a commitment to expand programs that educate, train, and reskill American workers from high school to near retirement. Since President Trump signed the Executive Order, more than 200 companies and organizations have signed the Pledge, contributing to over 8.9 million new education and training opportunities for American students and workers over the next five years.

The annual Investment Summit will be held June 10-12 at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C. Participants from the previous five Summits have announced more than $103.6 billion in greenfield investment projects in the United States within five years of attending. These projects directly support more than 167,000 U.S. jobs.

Registration is open and already includes more than 2,800 attendees from over 70 international markets and 49 U.S. states and territories. Featured speakers include Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, governors from eight states, and senior executives from companies including Hitachi, Siemens, and Softbank.

The United States is home to more foreign direct investment (FDI) than any other country in the world, with a total stock of more than $4 trillion of investment according to the latest data. FDI supports nearly 14 million American jobs, and is responsible for $370 billion in U.S. goods exports.

USDA Announces Investments in Water and Wastewater Infrastructure in 23 States

WASHINGTON, March 26, 2019 – Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley today announced that USDA is investing $116 million to help rebuild and improve rural water infrastructure for 171,000 rural Americans in 23 states.

“Helping to bring modern water and wastewater infrastructure to rural communities will increase economic opportunities and improve the quality of life for rural residents,” Baxley said. “The investments USDA is announcing today are foundational to health, safety and economic development in rural communities across America.”

USDA is working with local partners to provide financing for 49 water and environmental infrastructure projects. The funding is being provided through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. It can be used for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.

Eligible communities and water districts can apply online on the interactive RD Apply tool or through one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices.

Below are some examples of the investments USDA is making:

In Arkansas, Lake City will use a $2.3 million loan to modernize its wastewater treatment and collection system, which serves more than 2,000 residents. This project will improve the system’s capacity and reliability.
Rensselaer, Ind., is receiving a $3.4 million loan and a $1.7 million grant to connect three unserved areas of the city to the sewer system and to replace the main lift station. The homes that will be connected are currently served by individual septic systems. This project will benefit nearly 6,000 residents.
The city of Franklin, Idaho, is receiving a $900,000 loan and a $522,000 grant to increase the supply of water available to the Franklin Water System. The city’s water storage and spring boxes will be rehabilitated, and approximately two miles of pipe that connect the springs to the water system will be replaced. This project will also add two backup wells. It will provide more than 600 of the city’s residents and businesses with reliable water quantity and quality.
USDA is making investments in rural communities in: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington.

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.