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Lawmakers petition for Ex-Im Bank office

NEW ORLEANS — U.S. senators Mary Landrieu, chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and David Vitter along with congressmen Rodney Alexander, Charlie Melancon, Charles Boustany, Steve Scalise, Ahn “Joseph” Cao, Bill Cassidy and John Fleming, have sent a letter to the chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, Fred P. Hochberg, requesting he open a regional office of the organization in New Orleans.

“Despite the devastation caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Louisiana has experienced a tremendous growth in trade activity during the last five years,” the delegation wrote in the letter. “The establishment of an Export-Import Bank regional office would build upon excellent existing resources in New Orleans and provide the Gulf South region with much needed Export-Import Bank presence in the coming years.”

In June, Landrieu convened a field hearing at the Port of New Orleans to examine small business trade opportunities. The chairman of the Export-Import Bank noted, at the time, that the organization would have the tools to open one regional office in the country. A preliminary review of possible locations in high-export locations cited New Orleans as a top contender.

“The opening of a regional office in Louisiana would prove to be an easy transition given the presence Export-Import Bank already has in the state,” the members continued in the letter. “A regional office in New Orleans would be a logical and efficient hub focused on commerce in the Gulf South region. Furthermore, Louisiana’s rail system and five deepwater ports along the lower Mississippi River form a strategic commercial corridor, connecting Louisiana to more than 30 states located in the heartland of the United States.”

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