In May 2012, the government of the United States of America announced a change in its trade finance instruments.



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Trade finance

The Export-Import Bank of the United States, often shortened to Ex-Im Bank, is the export credit agency of the U.S. Government that provides a variety of loan, guarantee, and insurance products intended to aid the export of U.S. goods and services. According to the agency, "Ex-Im Bank gives U.S. companies a competitive edge and helps level the playing field in a brutally competitive world" by "ensur'ing' that U.S. companies never lose out on a sale because of attractive financing from foreign governments."Originally established in 1934 by executive order, it was made an independent agency by Congress in 1945 and has been reauthorized several times since then.
The debates in Congress over reauthorization for the bank have become more controversial in recent years, with critics on the left seeing it as an agency that assists in the promotion of projects that may be damaging to the environment and critics on the right characterizing the agency's loan guarantees and other programs as a form of "corporate welfare" that constitute a subsidy to firms that export goods with the assistance of Ex-Im Bank programs.
In 2012 Congress reauthorized the Ex-Im Bank, increasing its exposure limit from $100 billion to $140 billion. The reauthorization further required that the bank categorize each loan and long-term guarantee, classifying them as necessary either (1) to assume risk the private sector would not undertake, (2) overcome limits in private finance, or (3) meet competition from foreign export credit agencies. President Obama signed this authorization into law on May 30, 2012. The Ex-Im Bank's authorization expires on September 30, 2014.
The Obama administration has proposed a five-year reauthorization of the institution, which is once again a matter of intense controversy.