GE Power & Water announced on Sept. 28 that it will stop manufacturing gas engines in Waukesha, Wisc., and will open a new facility to build engines in Canada.
GE currently employs 350 at its manufacturing facility in Waukesha, building gas engines for compression, mechanical drive and power generation applications.
The company will build a new$ 265 million state-of-the-art “Brilliant Factory” in Canada that “will optimize efficiency and streamline production using data, analytics and software,” the company said.
This move is top of others that the company has announced in the past few weeks in reaction to the closure of the Ex-Im Export Bank.
“We believe in American manufacturing, but our customers in many cases require ECA financing for us to bid on projects,” said John Rice, vice chairman, GE. “Without it, we cannot compete and our customers may be forced to select other providers. We know these announcements will have regrettable impact not only on our employees but on the hundreds of U.S. suppliers we work with that cannot move their facilities, but we cannot walk away from our customers.” In fact in Wisconsin alone, suppliers generate almost $47 million in revenue from the plant.
“We continue to urge Congress to reauthorize the ExIm Bank for all American companies,” Rice added. “However, we must prepare for the worst case and arrange export finance outside the U.S. Unfortunately, this will come at the expense of American jobs. In a slow growth and volatile world, we must go where the markets are and compete in over 170 countries.”
GE chose Canada to access additional support from the country’s export credit agency, Export Development Canada (EDC). GE has a solid, long-standing relationship with EDC under which the company has participated in a number of global transactions.
GE is currently bidding on $11 billion of projects that require export financing. While more than 60 other countries have export credit agencies (ECAs) that support domestic manufacturing for export, the US does not. The authorization for the U.S. export credit agency – the Export-Import Bank, or Ex-Im – lapsed on July 1. For the last year, exporters and suppliers have called upon Congress to reauthorize the U.S. Export-Import Bank to support manufacturing jobs and level the playing field for U.S. companies that compete globally. Most countries are hungry for manufacturing and export jobs. The U.S. remains the only major economy in the world without an export bank.
Earlier this month, GE Power & Water announced plans to move production and 500 jobs to France, Hungary and China as its customers seek ECA financing support for projects using 50Hz heavy duty and aeroderivative gas turbines. GE Aviation announced plans to create a turboprop engine development, test and production operation in Europe. GE recently signed an agreement with UK Export Finance (UKEF) to access $12 billion in export credit financing for both confirmed and potential orders that could create as many as 1,000 UK jobs. Among the factors driving these decisions was the need to meet customer financing requirements and access foreign ECAs.