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U.S. Export-Import Bank president promotes benefits of selling products overseas

Tom Magnarelli
From left: Export-Import Bank Chairman and President Fred Hochberg, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Congressman Dan Maffei (D-NY), and Rob Simpson, president of CenterState CEO.

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was the first member of Congress to offer the U.S. Export-Import Bank the opportunity to visit small businesses in her state. The result was a meeting last week at Filtertech in Manlius with the bank's president.

Filtertech designs and manufactures industrial size liquid filtration systems.  

In 2008, the U.S. Export-Import Bank financed the manufacturing of a project Filtertech produced with a company in Italy; a project that helped keep them in business at the time.

U.S. Export-Import Bank President Fred Hochberg says exporting products is important to the growth of area businesses.

"What stops people from exporting? Part of it is fear," Hochberg said. "People are afraid, how do I get paid? What's it like? How do I deal with foreign languages, customs, duty? So what we do is we take the fear out."

They do that by writing an insurance policy on a sale a company makes outside of the U.S.

"Think about when you go to a car dealer, you're not going to pay them in advance to get your car fixed," Hochberg said. "We like to pay after we get the goods. Customers are no different, they want to pay after they receive the goods."  

If a customer doesn't pay, then the Export-Import Bank does. Gillibrand says more exports means more jobs.

"In 2012 alone, the companies in Syracuse reached an exporting estimate of $3.8 billion in goods and sales which ranks Syracuse among the top 100 exporting metropolitan areas in the United States," Gillibrand said.

Filtertech recently sold $4 million in product to a buyer in Russia with the bank's help.