Himes: Export-Import Bank Critical to CT Competitiveness

Aug 27, 2014 Issues: Job Creation, Small Business

FAIRFIELD, CT—Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) today visited Bigelow Tea, the largest American producer of specialty teas, to highlight the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s vital role in helping companies in Southwest Connecticut create jobs and grow their businesses. Himes met with Cindi Bigelow, the third-generation president and CEO of family-owned Bigelow Tea, and the company’s leadership to discuss the need for Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank before its charter expires at the end of September.

"The Export-Import Bank is one of the most important tools we have for supporting and expanding manufacturing jobs in Southwest Connecticut and we cannot afford to let it expire,” said Himes, a member of the House Financial Services Committee. “We need to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank now to ensure that Connecticut businesses like Bigelow Tea can continue to create jobs and compete on a level playing field in the global marketplace.”

In 2013, the Ex-Im Bank supported $37 billion in export sales and 205,000 American jobs. It provides loans, loan guarantees and credit insurance to overseas buyers of U.S. goods. The Ex-Im Bank is self-supported through interest payments and fees charged to customers, turning a profit for U.S. taxpayers. The bank transferred $1 billion to the U.S. Treasury in 2013.

Bigelow Tea is one of more than 30 companies in the Fourth Congressional District, including General Electric Co., Terex Corp., and M Cubed Technologies Inc., that have used Ex-Im services since 2007. During that period, Ex-Im financing has supported about $815 million in exports from companies in the Fourth District.

On Wednesday, Himes and Anne Evans, District Director of the U.S. Department of Commerce, toured Bigelow Tea’s manufacturing plant and presented Cindi Bigelow with an Export Recognition Award from the Connecticut District Export Council.

 “The Export-Import Bank is an important tool for Bigelow Tea, as it is for other U.S. manufacturers, in today’s highly-competitive global business climate,” said Cindi Bigelow.  “Growing the Bigelow brand internationally is a major part of our business strategy and the Ex-Im Bank helps Bigelow to compete overseas. As a privately-owned, third-generation family business, Bigelow Tea depends on the Ex-Im Bank’s support, and we appreciate Congressman Himes’ efforts to make sure the bank continues to help American businesses.”

“Bigelow Tea is a great example of Connecticut's exporting community and I congratulate them on their business and for maintaining and creating jobs in Fairfield County," Evans said.

Headquartered in Fairfield, Bigelow Tea is the national market leader of flavored teas. Now in its 70th year of operation, Bigelow remains a family-owned business and employs 330 people across three manufacturing facilities, producing over 1.7 billion tea bags annually.

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