The US Export-Import Bank (US Exim) is confident that a reauthorisation agreement will be reached before its mandate expires on June 30.

Speakers at the agency’s annual conference in Washington have said not reauthorising the bank would be a “foolish” decision.

“Exim is absolutely critical if we are going to be competitive in a global world. There are 60 ECAs around the world, and this week China and India announced efforts to expand their ECAs by billions of dollars,” said North Dakota Democrat senator Heidi Heitkamp, adding: “We think we’ll get there, we’re working very hard.”

There are currently two bills up for consideration in the House of Representatives and two different ones in the Senate, and US Exim chairman Fred Hochberg said he was “optimistic” that one of them would be approved.

If Exim goes away, there is an obvious competitive disadvantage that makes no sense at all. Jim McNerney, Boeing

Representatives of large and small corporates also expressed their support for the reauthorisation, with SME owners telling GTR they were “in denial” about the possibility of US Exim shutting down.

Boeing chairman and CEO Jim McNerney added: “If Exim goes away, there is an obvious competitive disadvantage that makes no sense at all. You’d have the wild west. Boeing can survive but the competitive dislocation would be significant.”

One of the issues dividing opinion at Congress is whether or not current limitations on the financing of coal-fired power plants should be lifted, with the bill presented by Senator Heitkamp including that provision.

In a statement, she defended that view, describing it as “a realistic compromise” that would be likely to pass through the Senate, despite the White House reasserting its support for the coal limitations.

At a London roundtable earlier this month, US Exim chairman Hochberg reasserted the government’s support for the ECAs’ environmental standards, and told GTR he didn’t believe the lifting of those limitations would be a condition for the reauthorisation.