EXIM Chairman Reed Meets with Business Leaders at Port of Houston, Gives Keynote to 400 at Discover Global Markets Forum on Powering and Building the Middle East and Africa

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EXIM Chairman Reed Meets with Business Leaders at Port of Houston, Gives Keynote to 400 at Discover Global Markets Forum on Powering and Building the Middle East and Africa

Houston – Kimberly A. Reed, president and chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM), addressed 400 U.S. business leaders from 39 states and numerous foreign delegations from Africa and the Middle East today, outlining how EXIM can help American companies increase international sales and compete effectively in the global marketplace.

Chairman Reed delivered the keynote address at the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration’s Discover Global Markets annual business development forum, which had the theme of “Powering and Building the Middle East and Africa.” With a focus on energy and infrastructure projects, the event highlighted export opportunities in the oil and gas, renewable energy, electrical infrastructure, construction, engineering, and transportation sectors. 

Chairman Reed, who was introduced by Ana M. Guevara, deputy assistant secretary for U.S. Field Operations at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, highlighted how EXIM’s support has paved the way for American businesses, of all sizes, to export their “Made in the USA” goods and services around the world. Also in attendance were Rep. Peter Olson (TX-22) and staff from several members of Congress, including Rep. Kevin Brady (TX-8), Rep. Al Green (TX-9), and Rep. Randy Weber (TX-14)

“It is a privilege to participate in the Discover Global Markets forum to explain how the Export-Import Bank of the United States can do its part to help achieve President Trump’s agenda of creating American jobs, boosting the economy of the United States, and ensuring that U.S. businesses can thrive in the global marketplace, in Africa and the Middle East,” said EXIM President and Chairman Kimberly A. Reed. 

Chairman Reed underscored EXIM’s commitment to fulfilling the congressional mandate to serve sub-Saharan Africa and advance a new era of U.S-Africa relations driven by President Donald J. Trump’s Prosper Africa(link is external) initiative which aims to substantially increase two-way trade and investment between the United States and Africa.

Chairman Reed began the day with a visit to Port of Houston, the largest port on the Gulf Coast and the biggest port in Texas, as well as the nation’s largest port for U.S. export tonnage. She participated in a roundtable discussion with 30 business leaders and toured the Ocean Grand, a U.S. flagged ship owned by the US Ocean, whose vessels have transported American-made goods financed by EXIM. Since 2014, EXIM has supported exports valued at $12 billion from 811 Texas companies – including 467 small businesses.

“Houston is the energy capital of the world and the Port of Houston is our nation’s busiest port — with more than 8,300 vessels and 200,000 barges per year,” said Chairman Reed. “It was an honor to engage with area business leaders in our country’s number one export state to hear about the important gap EXIM can fill to help our U.S. companies as they compete for and win deals around the world.”

Chairman Reed also met with Bob Harvey, president and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership, to discuss expanding export opportunities for U.S. businesses. She then joined more than 75 women business leaders for a Women’s Trade Dialogue on Prosper Africa, sponsored by the Greater Houston Partnership.

The discussion centered on the role of women in international trade and commercial opportunities in Africa. Chairman Reed highlighted EXIM’s opportunities in Africa as well as its support for minority- and women-owned businesses. In FY 2018, EXIM approved $451.4 million in support of minority- or woman-owned businesses, accounting for 21 percent of small business authorizations.

In February, President Trump signed a National Security Presidential Memorandum to establish the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative(link is external), a whole-of-government effort to advance global women’s economic empowerment, which aims to reach 50 million women by 2025.

“Through the W-GDP Initiative, the administration will seize on the significant opportunity that promoting women in the economy represents for boosting global gross domestic product,” said Chairman Reed, the first woman to lead EXIM in the agency’s 85-year history. “When women are economically empowered, they invest back into their families and communities, producing a multiplier effect that spurs economic growth and stability.”

The three-day Discover Global Markets conference brought together U.S. government officials from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Energy Department, U.S. AID, U.S. Commercial Service, and U.S. Trade and Development Agency along with senior executives from several U.S. corporations and business councils. The Commerce Department’s flagship event series for U.S. exporters, it is organized by the U.S. Commercial Service, the trade promotion arm of the International Trade Administration. Among the private-sector associations participating in the event was the Corporate Council on Africa, whose president and CEO, Florizelle Liser, serves on EXIM’s Sub-Saharan Africa Advisory Committee.

EXIM provides a portfolio of solutions for U.S. businesses, including export credit insurance to minimize nonpayment risk and improve cash flow, working capital guarantees to provide credit lines for producing goods and services, and term financing to support international buyers in purchasing American capital goods and services.

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