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Ex-Im leader to press U.S. lawmakers to reauthorize bank

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of the embattled U.S. Export-Import Bank plans to urge lawmakers on Wednesday to renew his agency's charter soon, emphasizing its support for American manufacturing jobs in a competitive global trade environment.

Chairman Fred Hochberg will tell the U.S. House of Representatives' Financial Services Committee that the bank, which helps finance exports of U.S. goods, helps "level the playing field" for American businesses.

The Export-Import Bank has become a hotbed of controversy in Congress. Its charter needs to be renewed by the end of September, but many Republican lawmakers who believe the U.S. government is intervening in business do not want to reauthorize the bank.

In remarks prepared for a hearing on Wednesday, Hochberg said the bank only steps in when the private sector will not provide funding. He said many foreign governments have export credit agencies to help support their businesses.

"Make no mistake, these foreign governments want for themselves the 205,000 American jobs Ex-Im financing helped support last year," Hochberg said.

"As I travel the world on behalf of American companies, I know that my counterparts in China, Brazil, Russia, South Korea, and many others are right behind me, fighting for business."

He also will tell the panel that the bank has made several changes to improve its transparency and reduce risks.

(Reporting by Emily Stephenson; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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