US bank EXIM suspends support for financing medical equipment exports
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The US Export-Import Bank of the United States said on Tuesday it was temporarily withdrawing all financial support for exports of essential medical equipment and supplies needed to fight the coronavirus, including ventilators, screens face shields, gloves and other personal protective equipment.
The exclusion order, which will remain in effect until September 30, was unanimously approved by the export credit agency’s board of directors “to help ensure that the United States have medical supplies and equipment that are scarce and necessary to combat and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic in the United States, ”EXIM said in a statement.
It comes as President Donald Trump has sought to limit exports of essential medical supplies, including masks from 3M Co MMM.N.
EXIM said the exclusion order applies to all of its loans, loan guarantees and insurance products covering items identified in a March 25 notice. here from the Department of Health and Social Services and a memorandum of April 3 here of Trump to allocate medical resources for home use.
These items include N95 respirators, other surgical masks, face shields, medical examination gloves, portable ventilators, motorized air-purifying respirators, medical gowns, disinfection and sterilization products, and medications. containing hydroxychloroquine as an active ingredient.
EXIM President Kimberly Reed said medical equipment export financing currently represents less than 1% of EXIM’s overall financing portfolio.
The export lender, which was limited to small transactions until last May due to congressional inaction on board candidates, has only funded about $ 9.1 billion in export sales to the United States during the fiscal year ended September 30, 2019.
Reporting by David Lawder and Andrea Shalal; Editing by Chris Reese and Jonathan Oatis