Top U.S. trade official visits Boeing

EVERETT - Michael Froman is the U.S. Trade Representative. He's a guy with a full plate. This morning he was touring Boeing's 787 production line. But he's also concerned about the future of American exports because of political battles over the Export-Import Bank.

Eighteen percent of Boeing's exported airliners are delivered under loans guaranteed by the Ex-Im Bank. There's a problem says Boeing and Froman, unless the bank is reauthorized by congress in September, the bank will close October first.

Our competitors around the globe are much more aggressive that we are, about providing trade finance assistance, said Froman in an interview with KING5 News.

Export-Import reauthorization is not even on the agenda, said a frustrated Representative Rick Larsen, a democratic member of congress who has Boeing's massive Everett factory in his district.

Larsen says he believes extending the bank would pass the house, it's a matter of getting it to the floor. Some Republicans are opposed to the bank, considering it a form of corporate welfare.

Froman has to wear several hats. As a trade enforcer, his job now is to hold Airbus and the European Union to the terms of an 18 billion dollar decision by the World Trade Organization that found that European Governments unfairly financed the start up costs to develop new planes that compete with airliners made in the U.S.

Froman is also a trade promoter, as he pushes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a deal with 11 other Pacific rim nations including, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Chile, Japan, Canada and Brunei Darussalam. He says the deal to remove barriers to trade, better enforce intellectual property rights, even out labor laws and controls on government owned companies will grow U.S. exports by $125 billion dollars a year.

I imagine you'll see more thru-put for ports here in the State of Washington, Froman said.


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