The Alabama Small Business Development Center Network is hosting three training workshops next week for small businesses to learn how to effectively use the Export-Import Bank of the United States. The workshops on Reducing Risk & Unleashing Opportunity will be in Huntsville, Birmingham, and Mobile, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day. Breakfast and lunch will be served. The registration cost is $25.
The workshops are ideal for CEOs, CFOs and credit managers, export sales teams, and commercial bankers. Subjects will include how to reduce risk and unleash opportunity, how to leverage the Ex-Im Bank to expand capabilities to increase international sales, and how to gain access to affordable capital.
The Huntsville workshop will be Tuesday, May 17, at the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County, 225 Church St. The North Alabama International Trade Association and the Ex-Im Bank will hold the workshop. Register online or with NAITA at 256-532-3505.
The Birmingham workshop will be Wednesday, May 18, at the Birmingham Business Alliance, 505 20th St. N., Suite 200. The parking entrance is on 5th Avenue North. Register online or with Alan at 205-241-8133.
Thursday’s workshop in Mobile on May 19 will be at the Mobile Chamber of Commerce, 451 Government St. Register online or with Christina at 251-431-8648.
The Ex-Im Bank export credit agency is an independent, self-sustaining executive branch agency with a mission of supporting American jobs by facilitating the export of U.S. goods and services. When private-sector lenders are unable or unwilling to provide financing, the Ex-Im Bank fills in the gap for American businesses by equipping them with financing tools necessary to compete for global sales.
The Business Council of Alabama was part of a coalition that successfully urged congressional reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank’s charter last year. Between 2007 and 2015, the bank backed $823 million in exports by 87 Alabama exporters, including 61 small businesses, supporting 5,000 jobs.
BIRMINGHAM SEEKS NATIONAL PARK STATUS FOR DISTRICT
The Birmingham Business Alliance is working with the City of Birmingham to support national park status for an area of downtown as a National Civil Rights District.
Birmingham’s Historic Civil Rights District is comprised of the 16th Street Baptist Church, Kelly Ingram Park, Bethel Baptist Church, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, a portion of the Fourth Avenue North business district, and the A.G. Gaston Motel. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named the motel a National Treasure last year.
U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Birmingham, has introduced a bill that would make the designation that would preserve history, boost tourism and the local economy, and further Birmingham as a global center for human rights policy, research, and education, the Birmingham Business Alliance reported.
“The Birmingham Civil Rights District for some has been a place for people from around the world to come and learn about the history made here during the Movement,” said Brian Hilson, president and CEO of the BBA. “This designation would preserve the district’s status among the most important monuments in the country and ensure generations to come will learn and share the important lessons learned in Birmingham.”
SENATE PASSES ENERGY AND WATER FUNDING BILL
The U.S. Senate has passed a $37.5 billion energy and water program funding bill. The Senate approved the bill 90-8 on Thursday. The president threatens to veto the bill, according to a report by the Hill.
The vote means that energy and water funding becomes the first 2017 appropriations measure approved this year. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the important bill will support public safety, waterways infrastructure, energy innovation and nuclear deterrence.
The bill increases funding by $355 million over this year and contains a $1.163 billion increase for the Department of Energy’s defense-related programs, but an $808 million cut for nondefense portions of the bill, including other DOE programs and the Army Corps of Engineers.
Still, the White House threatens to veto it because in the president’s opinion the bill doesn’t provide enough research money for advanced energy projects or renewable energy sources.
TARIFF RELIEF BILL TO OVERHAUL PROCESS PASSES SENATE
The Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that will provide tariff relief for U.S. manufacturers while complying with the congressional ban on earmarks, the Hill reported. The Senate sent the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill, which will overhaul the process for reducing or eliminating tariffs on imported inputs and products not available or in short supply domestically, to the President’s desk for his signature.
For years business groups have urged Congress to renew the legislation since. Without this legislation, manufacturers say that companies face an annual $748 million tax hike on manufacturing in the United States, representing a $1.85 billion loss to the U.S. economy.
“This legislation helps American manufacturers level the playing field through tariff relief, which lowers production costs on parts that simply can’t be found here at home,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said.
National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons called passage of the bill “a major victory and proof that Senate and House leaders have listened to manufacturers’ calls for action.”
“We urge the president to sign the bill quickly as it will eliminate unnecessary border taxes that have been costing manufacturers in the United States hundreds of millions of dollars and undermining their competitiveness,” Timmons said.
Bruce Josten, executive vice president for government affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said, “We applaud Congress’s efforts to move bipartisan legislation that would preserve American jobs and help U.S. manufacturers and other businesses maintain their competitive edge.”
The House earlier passed the bill on a 415-2 vote.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Committee Votes to Delay Ozone Pollution Standards
The Hill (Cama 5/12) “A House Energy and Commerce Committee panel voted Thursday to delay the Obama administration’s new ozone pollution standards and make future regulations more friendly to industry. The committee’s energy and power subcommittee passed the bill along party lines.
“The measure would give states up to eight years to comply with last year’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule on ozone, which restricted the allowable amount of ozone in ambient air to 70 parts per billion, from the previous 75 parts per billion. Future rules for numerous pollutants, including ozone, would only happen every 10 years, expanding from the current five years, and the EPA would for the first time have to consider the costs to businesses is future ozone restrictions. States now face the challenge of spending already limited resources on implementing a new second standard of 70 parts per billion.”
U.S. Chamber Statement on Energy Future
U.S. Chamber (Donohue 5/12) “Lower energy prices over the last two years have boosted consumers’ disposable income and have improved our manufacturing competitiveness-good news in an economy that continues to weaken. Falling prices, however, mean falling profits in the U.S. energy industry, a fact that’s already cost our economy tens of thousands of energy jobs and puts other jobs at risk.
“Last December, Congress ended the 40-year U.S. ban on crude oil exports. With the ban lifted, Congress must focus on expediting liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports. The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts our country will be a net natural gas exporter by 2017 and remain one through 2040. This means more jobs and more investment here at home.
“There’s also a national security argument for increasing our energy exports. Adding U.S. supply to the global market will make these countries less dependent on dictators and demagogues. The current low prices will not last forever, and we must put the proper policies in place to capitalize on our country’s extraordinary untapped resources.
“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will continue to push back against burdensome regulations that will stifle the U.S. shale revolution, while Congress must make it easier and less costly to produce energy domestically. Until recently, the U.S. energy sector was one of the few bright spots in a weak recovery, producing well-paying jobs for American workers. To keep energy-related jobs here at home, lawmakers must pass policies that will expand markets for our energy products and enable the continued prudent development of all traditional and alternative energy resources.”
(Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Business Council of Alabama is the U.S. Chamber’s exclusive representative in Alabama.)