The Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) provides financing to support U.S. exports, and its support for environmentally beneficial exports has been of long-standing congressional interest. In fiscal year 2008, Congress directed Ex-Im to allocate 10 percent of its annual financing to renewable energy and environmentally beneficial products and services. For fiscal years 2009 and 2010, it directed Ex-Im to allocate 10 percent to renewable energy and energy efficient end-use technologies. In 2009, it directed GAO to conduct a review of Ex-Im's efforts to meet congressional directives concerning environmental exports financing. This report addresses (1) the extent of Ex-Im's financing of renewable energy, energy efficient end-use technologies, and other environmentally beneficial exports; (2) Ex-Im's definitions for, and its reporting on, these exports; and 3) the extent to which Ex-Im has followed strategic planning key practices in its planning efforts in these areas. GAO analyzed Ex-Im transaction data and planning documents and interviewed officials from Ex-Im, other U.S. agencies, state-level trade promotion agencies, environmental industry associations, and other industry experts.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Export-Import Bank of the United States||1. To improve the planning and reporting of its activities related to environmental exports, the Chairman of the Export-Import Bank should develop and provide clear definitions for its subcategories of environmentally beneficial exports--especially energy efficient end-use technologies--and report annually on the level of financing for each of the subcategories. These definitions should be developed in conjunction with other agencies as appropriate.|
|Export-Import Bank of the United States||2. To improve the planning and reporting of its activities related to environmental exports, the Chairman of the Export-Import Bank should consistently implement key practices for effective strategic planning, including the following (1) clearly communicating the bank's priorities for increasing financing of renewable energy and energy efficient end-use technologies to both internal and external stakeholders, and soliciting input on how to do so; (2)demonstrating in the bank's strategic planning documents a more complete and systematic assessment of external and internal factors affecting environmentally beneficial exports financing, such as market information for energy efficiency exports and the availability of needed Ex-Im services for exporters; and (3) using these assessments to determine the resources required and realign resources if needed.|