Ex-Im Bank Critics, Supporters Look to Donald Trump for Help

(Wall Street Journal, Washington, 8 December 2016) President-elect Donald Trump’s jawboning of executives to keep jobs in the U.S. is putting free-market conservatives in an awkward spot after they fought the Obama administration on other government intervention in business. Now, the fate of an agency that conservatives have fought to close over the past year because they say it is an example of the government picking winners and losers—the U.S. Export-Import Bank—will rest in Mr. Trump’s hands. Ex-Im Bank supporters are already using Mr. Trump’s early moves to build their case. The president-elect’s emerging industrial policy—seen last week when he touted Carrier Corp.’s agreement to keep 800 manufacturing jobs in Indiana in exchange for some tax credits—would appear at odds with conservative opposition that has weakened the bank over the past year, amid charges of “crony capitalism.” Congress recently rejected an amendment that would allow US Ex-Im to function without a full board. However, the news that senator Richard Shelby – who has blocked new nominations to the board – has termed out as senate banking committee chairman bodes well for the ECA, as a new pro-Exim replacement is set to start on 3 January.