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Industrial policy and Team U.S.A. rhetoric at Export-Import Bank conference

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Timothy P. Carney,John Kerry,Trade,Export Import Bank

U.S. Government and Business are a team, competing against other countries in the Export Olympics. That's one theme of the day at the Export-Import Bank annual conference. Ex-Im subsidizes U.S. exports, and the agency's charter expires this fall -- setting the stage for a contentious reauthorization fight in Congress this year.

"We're going to be left out if we don't step up our game," former congresswoman Jane Harman said on stage, calling for reauthorization of the agency,

Secretary of State John Kerry praised Ex-Im chairman Fred Hochberg, saying Hochberg at Ex-Im abides by the motto: "You can't do business sitting on your ass."

Hochberg's opening speech portrayed global trade as a sailboat race pitting the countries of the world against one another. One slide, appearing behind him onstage, showed the boats racing with national flags on their sails. "At Ex-Im, we want to be the wind in your sails,” Hochberg said.

"When I travel around the world, I see government after government looking to strengthen their economies through exports," Hochberg said. "Everyone is putting their foot on the gas, trying to win the race for leadership in the global marketplace.

This is standard talk from the Obama administration. It's a little more corporatist than the Left is probably comfortable with. It also doesn't sound like the free-enterprise talk the Chamber of Commerce promotes. But it goes unquestioned in many circles.

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