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EXIM Celebrates Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month with Export Tools
May 09, 2024 Jane Lemons, Business Development Specialist

During Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) recognizes the innumerable contributions, that Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities have made throughout the nation's history.

To celebrate AAPI Heritage Month and honor that lasting legacy, EXIM is highlighting its trade finance tools for supporting minority-owned businesses, including the new Equity Express Select (EQS) export credit insurance product designed for underserved business communities.

EXIM  remains committed to prioritizing equity and helping historically underserved businesses succeed, and President and Chair Reta Jo Lewis offers a special message of encouragement.

EXIM President and Chair Reta Jo Lewis celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. You also can view her message here.

Diversifying Your Portfolio to Reduce Risk

The most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau underscores the economic impact of businesses owned by Asian Americans, which account for approximately 1 of every 10 U.S. businesses. The Census Bureau found that in 2021:

  • There were 642,950 businesses owned by Asian Americans.
  • Those businesses generated $1 trillion in annual receipts.

In addition, there were an estimated 8,324 Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander-owned businesses. They accounted for approximately $10.5 billion in receipts, with 53,277 employees and $2.5 billion in annual payroll.

With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside the U.S. borders, companies can grow their businesses and increase their profits by exporting their American-made goods and services around the globe.

"Currently over 65 percent of our revenues are generated from international customers. We are exporting to at least 55 countries on a regular basis. When we first started out, I could never have imagined that's where I would be today," said Zaheer Faruqi, CEO of Aventure International Aviation Services. The small business based in Peachtree City, Georgia, was a 2022 Exporter of the Year.

"The beauty of the whole thing is that by exporting to different parts of the world, I have a diversified portfolio of customers," he continued. "So if for any reason things are not doing well in Japan, then South Africa might be doing great, or maybe it's Europe that's doing very well. So spreading your risks is very important, and I would encourage any exporter to do that."

U.S. Census Bureau infographic

Helping AAPI Companies Bridge the Gap

To spread the word about EXIM financing to underserved communities, EXIM's Minority and Women Owned Business Division (MWOB) works closely with organizations that have a minority trade focus to create opportunities for U.S. companies that are owned by minorities, women, veterans, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ community along with rural and startup businesses.

As part of that effort, EXIM recently launched an innovative new product — the Equity Express Select (EQS) export credit insurance policy, an insurance tool created specifically to help underserved companies begin or expand their export business. It was developed in collaboration with the MWOB Division to support and empower minority-, woman-, veteran-, or disability-owned small businesses as well as rural businesses.

The EQS insurance product is designed to help qualifying businesses start or expand their exporting journey and then graduate to one of EXIM’s other export credit insurance products. It will be supported by an in-house customer service team that will guide companies through the application and servicing process.

Highlighting American Ingenuity

The roots of AAPI Heritage Month date to 1978, when Congress designated a week to honor the contributions of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, which was later expanded to a month. The timing coincides with two milestones in American history: the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in the United States on May 7, 1843, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, since the majority of workers who laid those tracks were Chinese immigrants.

This year, in proclaiming May as AAPI Heritage Month, President Joe Biden said diversity is our Nation’s greatest strength, noting that Asian American employment and entrepreneurship rates are at their highest point in over a decade.

"This month, we celebrate the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities, whose ingenuity, grit, and perseverance have pushed our great American experiment forward," President Biden said.

To find out how EXIM can help your business compete in the global marketplace, schedule a free consultation with a member of the MWOB team and launch your export journey today.

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EXIM’s Blog postings are intended to highlight various facets of exporting, but the postings are not legal advice, and are not intended to summarize all legal requirements associated with exporting.