June 9, 2015

Most State Exports Happen without the Ex-Im Bank

An uninformed listener hearing the debate over the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank would  think that, in most states, most exports are backed by financing from Ex-Im. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The table below uses data from the Ex-Im Bank congressional map tool and the US Census Bureau’s datasets on state exports for 2014 to show the impact of Ex-Im Bank financing on each state as a percentage of that state’s total exports over the same period.

In 2014 Washington State was the big winner in terms of state export value supported, with an incredible 17.65 percent of state’s exports backed by the Ex-Im Bank. That should come as no surprise. Washington State is the home of Boeing, the bank’s main beneficiary in the United States. The state percentages drop off quickly from there. While 6.73 percent of South Carolina’s exports (another Boeing state) and about 6.2 percent of the District of Columbia’s exports were backed by the Ex-Im Bank, the Ex-Im Bank supported less than 2 percent of the exports in most other states last year.

In other words, the Ex-Im Bank yields negligible benefits for the vast majority of state exports. In fact, a vast majority of exports in each state take place without any assistance from the government. But taxpayers in all states remain on the hook if the Ex-Im Bank runs into financial trouble.