Flashback: GE used Ex-Im to move manufacturing to Mexico

BY TIMOTHY P. CARNEY | MAY 21, 2015 | 1:41 PM

In this Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, photo, a General Electric logo is displayed on a kitchen appliances in a H.H. Gregg store in Cranberry Township, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The New York Times carries a gloom-and-doom news piece today on a Cameroonian water project and a small business in California.

Without taxpayer-backed financing from the Export-Import Bank, this project could fall through. Clear away the atmospherics in this piece, including the dark threat of a Chinese company, and the real story emerges: General Electric, the contractor on this project, says that if Ex-Im doesn't subsidize this deal, GE will move its manufacturing to Canada or Hungary, "where the company has other plants supported by those countries' credit agencies."

There's an irony to GE's threat to move jobs overseas if Uncle Sam doesn't provide subsidies through Ex-Im: GE has actually used Ex-Im subsidies in the past to move manufacturing from Bloomington, Indiana, to Mexico.

As those Bloomington workers were getting laid off, back in 2005, I reported:

In Celaya, a General Electric joint venture named Mabe makes appliances, including the side-by-side refrigerators that had been made in Bloomington. As part of another joint venture called Qualcore, GE built a separate plant in Celaya to supply parts for the appliances made at Mabe. That's where the U.S. taxpayers got involved.
To reduce the cost of the Qualcore factory, GE called on the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im), a federal agency. Ex-Im provided a subsidy in the form of a $3 million loan guarantee because the new plant would include components made in California and Illinois.
As one of laid-off workers, Joe Adams, said about this deal: "Well, that's just great. My taxes are paying to ship my job to Mexico."