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US Export-Import Bank extends support to space industry to take on Chinese competitors

U.S. companies in the space sector face tough competition from Chinese government-backed companies and the Ex-Im Bank now has a mandate from Congress to help level the playing field. As reported by SpaceNews, Ex-Im runs a “Program on China and Transformational Exports” as directed by Congress when it signed a seven-year re-authorization for Ex-Im on December 20, 2019.

Ex-Im is now working to implement the program.

Since, Space is identified as one of the crucial industries being challenged by Chinese industries, Congress has directed Ex-Im to set aside at least 20 percent of the agency’s financing authority — $27 billion out of a total of $135 billion — for this program.

Industry Reactions

Robbie Schingler, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Planet, noted that companies that provide earth imaging data and analytics services increasingly face cutthroat competition from Chinese firms. He added that they run into challenges with predatory pricing by Chinese backed companies even though there lies massive market opportunity to get contracts with governments around the world.

He stated that Chinese firms are going after the same products and services that they have been offering for years, and they would like Ex-Im to help finance purchases of data subscriptions, a service that is provided with space technology but is not the same as selling hardware.

John Serafini, CEO of Hawkeye 360, mentioned that his company would like to see Ex-Im help ease the export licensing process. They need a level playing field since U.S. companies can’t export certain capabilities that are available from international competitors.

Paul Estey, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Maxar, propounded that Ex-Im should reconsider how it views U.S. content requirements. They would like the bank to allow flexibility in U.S. content requirements as other export credit agencies tend to look at the net benefits to the home country rather than define a strict content limit.

Stephanie Bednarek, director of commercial sales at SpaceX, noted that the company competes frequently with Chinese-backed launch companies. She also added that Ex-Im could also assist U.S. launch providers by helping foreign satellite operators understand how to use Ex-Im as many tend to be skeptical because they are unfamiliar with how it works.

Source : https://www.geospatialworld.net/news/us-export-import-bank-extends-support-to-space-industry-to-take-on-chinese-competitors/