Diplomats not the only ones aiding Boeing business abroad


Over the weekend the New York Times ran a story highlighting the diplomatic relations used to help Boeing acquire business in foreign nations, but the informal and potentially inappropriate dealings between diplomats and foreign leaders done for Boeing's benefit is not the only thing the U.S. government  does to help the company's bottom line.

The Export-Import Bank of the United States regularly issues loans and loan guarantees in foreign countires to help Boeing export its commercial aircraft. According to the Ex-Im Bank's annual reports for 2009 and 2010, the bank issued almost $20 billion in long-term loan guarantees in 20 foreign countries. About $15 billion of that total, or 75 percent, went toward the purchase of commercial aircraft made by Boeing.

The Ex-Im Bank's mission is "to assist in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to international markets.[It] enables U.S. companies — large and small — to turn export opportunities into real sales that help to maintain and create U.S. jobs and contribute to a stronger national economy." Boeing, a major defense contractor and top political contributor, spent over $13 million lobbying congress in 2010. 

It's a longstanding pattern. Last year, Subsidyscope did an analysis that showed, in 2007 and 2008, Boeing benefited most from Ex-Im Bank financing, with 65 percent of loan guarantees going toward the purchase of Boeing's inventory. 

As the Times reported, State Department economists think the United States' economy increasingly relies on exports to the developing world. By providing financing and guarantees, the Export-Import Bank sweetens deals for foriegn countries in order to entice them to buy American.