There’s a policy battle being fought in D.C. right now about the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, and I want to make sure New Orleans and the rest of Louisiana fall on the right side of history. Ex-Im is a critical tool for Louisiana businesses that export made-in-Louisiana goods around the world. Without it, thousands of jobs would be in jeopardy — and yet, some members of Congress still want to let the bank expire.

Louisiana exporters face intense competition in markets overseas. A lot of times, these foreign competitors are backed by generous financing from their own governments that give them an unfair advantage over companies in the U.S. and here in Louisiana. Ex-Im levels this playing field.

By providing competitive financing to foreign buyers, U.S. businesses can focus on winning customers by providing the best goods at the best prices. Just here in Louisiana, Ex-Im has helped local businesses secure over $1.6 billion in deals since 2007. Those are mostly small businesses, too.

Many people don’t realize that Ex-Im isn’t just important to exporters either — it’s also important to suppliers. Many suppliers make a living by selling intermediate goods that exporters then use in the goods they sell overseas. Without strong export growth, suppliers are just as much in jeopardy.

And if it wasn’t enough, Ex-Im also makes a profit for taxpayers through the fees and interest it charges for its services. Last year alone, it returned $675 million to the Treasury. That’s $675 million that went toward reducing the deficit.

So in short, Ex-Im supports businesses here in Louisiana and around the U.S. It helps companies expand and grow, create new jobs, all while returning money to the taxpayers. What other government agency can say that?

Nevertheless, some congressmen still want to let the Ex-Im expire on June 30, which will unnecessarily put thousands of Louisiana jobs at risk. The uncertainty hanging over the bank’s future is already starting to hurt businesses’ ability to win deals overseas. America needs a long-term solution now.

Next week, I’ll be joining a delegation from Louisiana and businesses from around the country in D.C. to show Congress that American exporters are serious about a long-term reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank. I hope you will consider helping Louisiana businesses by showing your support to our members of Congress.

Bobby Savoie

CEO, Geocent

New Orleans