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GE: US May Lose Jobs if Export Agency Expires

  • VOA News

File - General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt gestures as he leaves the Elysee Palace after a meeting with French President Francois Hollande, June 2014.

File - General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt gestures as he leaves the Elysee Palace after a meeting with French President Francois Hollande, June 2014.

The chairman of General Electric, Jeff Immelt, says he may move jobs out of the United States to Canada or Europe if Congress lets the U.S. Export-Import Bank go out of business.

The Ex-Im Bank helps U.S. companies export their goods and services with financing and a type of insurance that protects firms in case a foreign customer cannot pay. The companies pay premiums or interest for these services.

The Ex-Im Bank's charter expires at the end of June and the usually uncontroversial agency has been the target of campaign by some conservative Republicans who say the agency is an unwise intrusion into processes better left to the market. Without Congressional action, the government agency will go out of business at the end of June.

GE is one of the large U.S. companies that get help from Ex-Im, and critics say large firms should not need help or get "corporate welfare" from the government.

GE's Immelt says if his company does not get help from the U.S. Ex-Im Bank, he may move some production to nations that do provide such help. He says China, Germany and scores of other nations bolster companies that compete with American firms with export promotion agencies.

In a Washington speech on Wednesday, Immelt also said most of Ex-Im's customers are small- and medium-size companies.

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