April 19th, 2018 | By Alan Rappeport –
As trade tensions mount, an 84-year-old Washington institution could have been a powerful tool for President Trump. The institution, the Export-Import Bank, was created to help American companies compete overseas and bolster exports by providing cheap government-backed loans.
But the institution, which once financed multibillion-dollar projects, has been effectively crippled by the Trump administration. The bank has been without a chairman since Mr. Trump took office and the last of the bank’s five board members quit in March. Since 2015, it has not had the quorum of at least three members it needs to finance deals or projects worth more than $10 million.
The effective shuttering of the bank has put American manufacturers like Boeing and General Electric at a global disadvantage, prompting a frenzied lobbying campaign by business groups worried that the White House is undermining its own trade goals.
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