General Electric Is Moving 500 US Jobs Overseas

15 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

GE To Transfer 500 U.S. Jobs Abroad.

General Electric on Tuesday announced that it plans to send 500 jobs overseas, a move the industrial giant said is necessary because Congress allowed the charter for the Export-Import Bank to expire earlier this year. WASHINGTON General Electric Co said on Tuesday it will move 500 U.S. power turbine manufacturing jobs to Europe and China because it can no longer access U.S. The fate of the bank has been the subject of an intense lobbying campaign over the past year with the business community touting it as an integral part of the manufacturing sector and conservatives highlighting it as an example of “crony capitalism” that should be eliminated.

Export-Import Bank, is moving 500 jobs to France, Hungary and China after Congress halted the agency’s ability to offer new financing. “We’ve got $11 billion of active tenders that require some form of export credit financing,” GE Vice Chairman John Rice said Tuesday in a telephone interview. “We’ve got to start making some choices about where those products will be manufactured in order to qualify for export credit financing. Frankly, we’ve been pushed to do this.” Positions now in South Carolina, Maine, New York and Texas, including some Houston-based packaging operations for gas turbines, are being shifted, GE said. The largest U.S. industrial conglomerate said France’s COFACE export agency has agreed to support some of GE’s global power project bids with a new line of credit in exchange for moving production of heavy-duty gas turbines to Belfort, France, along with 400 jobs. U.S. facilities in Greenville, South Carolina; Schenectady, New York; and Bangor, Maine, will lose out on those jobs if GE wins the power bids, a GE spokeswoman said.

The company’s decision could breathe new life into the bitter debate over the bank, which hasn’t been able to extend new lines of credits since the end of June. GE has been threatening such a move for months as it urges lawmakers to revive the agency, which provided almost $1 billion in credit assistance to the company’s international customers last year.

President Obama, his Democratic allies and some Republicans have pushed for its return, saying it supports jobs and has majority support in both chambers of Congress. The 81-year-old Ex-Im bank provides loans, credit guarantees and insurance to aid sales by US companies including Boeing Co. and Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE. The bank’s charter expired June 30 when Republican members of Congress, who say Ex-Im benefits only a few large corporations that don’t need government assistance, blocked a reauthorization vote. EXIM supporters have thus far been unsuccessful in attaching renewal to other legislation, but new efforts are expected this autumn as Congress considers government “must-pass” agency funding, a transportation bill and an increase in the federal debt limit.

GE last year vowed to add 1,000 jobs in France to gain the blessing of the French government for the U.S. conglomerate’s acquisition of the power business of France’s Alstom. Big companies like General Electric and Boeing benefit from the bank because it helps finance the purchase of billions of dollars of their products, such as the sale of Boeing jets to the foreign airline Emirates.

The bank also helps hundreds of small and mid-sized U.S. businesses sell their goods overseas and compete with foreign businesses on major contracts like building infrastructure abroad. Many credit export agencies, or ECAs, require companies that benefit from its financing to have significant operations in the region where the ECA is based, which is why the shutdown of Ex-Im in the United States is prompting U.S. companies to consider moving jobs overseas. “While our preference is to continue producing power generation equipment in our best U.S. factories, without customer access to the U.S.

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