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Boeing Chairman: Company Looking At Relocating Over Export-Import Bank

Boeing could move some of its operations overseas.

Boeing could move some of its operations overseas after the Export-Import Bank's charter expired last month.

Jim McNerney, chairman and former CEO of the aerospace giant, told the Economic Club of Washington that the company could relocate "key pieces" to countries that continue to offer export credits.

Company officials previously said that the Export-Import Bank — which provides low-interest loans for foreign purchases of American-made goods — was essential for Boeing to compete with its overseas rivals on a level playing field.

McNerney's remarks on Wednesday, however, indicated that a company review was underway. He did not offer details about when discussions began or which operations could be moved.

"We are now forced to think about this differently," McNerney said, according to a Reuters report.

The Ex-Im Bank's charter expired on June 30 after Congress failed to reauthorize the lender. Some Republican critics believe that the bank interferes with the free market and noted that only a handful of companies -- Boeing among them -- receive the vast majority of its loans.

Conservatives characterized McNerney's comments as "fear mongering," but Boeing officials reportedly are already seeing an impact from the lack of Export-Import Bank loans. A huge portion of Boeing's sales comes from overseas buyers, where it must compete with France-based Airbus and its export credits.

Supporters, meanwhile, countered that the bank supports billions in economic activity at no cost to taxpayers, and said that massive supply chains stem from Boeing and other top loan recipients.

They hoped to pass the bank's reauthorization as part of a must-pass highway bill, but the measure was not included in the House version of that legislation.

Officials from Boeing's largest union, meanwhile, slammed McNerney over his comments.

"The only Boeing job that should leave this country is his," said International Association of Machinists District 751 President Jon Holden.

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