Hochberg Touts Improving Exports at Global Business Conference

Despite China’s quick growth, the United States is still the No. 1 manufacturer of goods and services in the world. We are, however, only ranked third when it comes to global exports. Fred Hochberg, chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, says we need to improve this if we want to continue to grow our economy and recover from the recent economic downturn.

Hochberg delivered the keynote address at the Eighth Annual Global Business Conference 2011, which was presented Feb. 9 by LeBow College of Business and the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia. “Only 1 percent of U.S. companies currently export their goods and services to foreign countries,” Hochberg reports. The Import-Export Bank plays a key role in President Obama’s initiative to double that within the next 5 years – an accomplishment that would create about 2 million new jobs.

The Bank lends to both domestic and foreign companies, providing financing to work toward the goal of creating more U.S. exports. It offers working capital guarantees to help American exporters purchase raw materials and supplies, as well as export credit insurance, which eliminates the risk of foreign companies not paying up. It also provides loan guarantees for international buyers seeking to secure financing to purchase U.S. exports.

Hochberg says that by 2020, 100 billion people globally will enter the middle class. “They will need stuff,” he says, including better food, transportation, energy sources, and medical supplies. American innovation should be a big part of servicing these people, Hochberg says.

Hochberg was confirmed by a unanimous vote in the U.S. Senate in May 2009. Under his direction, the Bank’s focus is on opening new markets for U.S. goods and services in emerging economies including Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Turkey, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Nigeria and South Africa. The Bank is also focused on increasing the global footprint of key domestic industries in which U.S. exporters have a comparative advantage, such as renewable energy, industrial machinery, and medical technology. Under his leadership, Hochberg says that U.S. exports are up 22 percent for 2010 over 2009.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter welcomed Hochberg, telling the crowd that the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington area created $21 billion worth of exports in 2008, the most recent year for which there was data available. Other presenters at the conference included Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, who reported a sunny outlook for a growing economy in 2011; Christopher P. Warren, senior vice president and manager of the commercial banking group at Citibank, N.A.; The Honorable Francisco J. Sanchez, under secretary of commerce for international trade for the U.S. Department of Commerce; and Donald D. Wirth, vice president of global operations, corporate supply chains, DuPont.