The US Export Import Bank (US Exim) has launched the regional export promotion programme (REPP), an initiative to liaise with regional business organisations to boost trade.

The programme already has 38 members across 26 states and two US territories, and is collecting applications from other local, regional or state economic development organisations or World Trade Centres that assist small businesses.

Fred Hochberg, US Exim chairman and president, says: “Since 2009, US Exim has demonstrated a historic commitment to small business exports, and our local partners were key contributors to that success. Through REPP, the bank will continue to grow our network of regional, state and local partnerships we need to ensure small businesses have additional tools and access to US government resources for exporters.”

The programme’s benefits include outreach and counselling assistance, introduction to marketing and training materials and access to qualified finance experts, lenders, insurance brokers and government export resources.

Bill Cummins, executive state director of the Alabama Small Business Development Centre Network – an REPP member – comments: “The Alabama International Trade Centre at the University of Alabama has a 35-year history of working with US Exim programmes. I’ve seen first-hand how US Exim programmes really help small businesses grow their international sales, create jobs and improve Alabama’s economy.”

Despite having been reauthorised in December 2015 after a six-month shut-down, US Exim has been operating at a much lower capacity than usual due to stalling on the part of Congress in confirming members of the board.

In the first three quarters of this financial year (which, for the US government, starts on October 1st), the bank authorised US$4bn in financing, compared to US$12bn for the same period in 2015.