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Ex-Im and the Pax Americana

For more than 80 years, the Export-Import Bank of the United States has played a central role in facilitating market access for U.S. firms and for providing a fixed price on the uncertainty and credit risk of international trade. Ex-Im quite literally paved the way for the Pax Americana by financing the Pan-American Highway, road networks in Southeast Asia and the reconstruction of Europe under the Marshall Plan following World War II. Ex-Im is such an enduring institution, much like the FDIC, because its mission was borne out of vacuum left behind by a chaotic period in which private resources evaporated and confidence in the system waned. The FDIC was formed in the crucible of bank runs and financial panic following the Great Depression, while Ex-Im, in its 1945 charter, was forged from the wreckage of a tattered global economy, in which the U.S. was the world’s principal economic and trade guarantor.

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