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Ex-Im Bank expiry prompts GE to ship 500 jobs overseas

GE to send 500 jobs overseas

General Electric is planning to move 500 jobs overseas, citing the Export-Import Bank expiration.

The jobs will be moving to France, Hungary and China. Four hundred jobs will move to France, and the remaining 100 will be split between China and Hungary. All the jobs are in the company's power business and will be moved from the states of South Carolina, Texas, New York and Maine.

"In a way, it's not our decision," said GE Vice Chairman John Rice. "We've been trying to get people to understand, if you want to compete for global infrastructure projects you need export credit financing."

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Congress let the 81-year-old Export-Import Bank expire this summer. The bank provided financing and insurance for foreign purchases of goods made by U.S companies, and GE has been one of the primary beneficiaries the bank's activities, along with Boeing and Caterpillar.

"Whether or not Ex-Im gets reauthorized, we have to move forward," said Rice, who oversees GE's global operations.

The company is currently bidding on $11 billion of projects overseas and before the bids are made, it has to secure the financing, either from the U.S. or other countries willing to extend it. As part of the extension of credit though, the countries may request production and jobs be based in their countries.

In a statement, GE said that France's export credit agency, COFACE, will provide a line of credit for Indonesian power deals. To access credit for clients of its aeroderivatives turbines, it's moving final assembly, and 100 jobs to Hungary and China.

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GE has been lobbying hard for Congress to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank, maintaining it creates U.S. jobs. Much of the opposition to the bank comes from Republicans who maintain the bank inhibits the free-market economy by letting the government pick winners and losers. Some Democrats oppose it, maintaining it's a source of subsidies to big corporations.

"To me the logic for this is compelling," said Rice. "There are no other major countries that do not have export credit agencies, and through Congress' inaction the U.S is choosing to be the only one."

Rice said he could not say if GE was planning to move more jobs overseas because it no longer has access to financing from the Ex-Im Bank. He said it will be determined on a project-by-project basis, depending on the terms of the financing.

Read MoreGE continues to shed assets

In its statement, GE said, Congress' inability to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank "will result in the loss of thousands of U.S. jobs—both at GE and at our suppliers."

The company is making the Ex-Im Bank an issue as it considers relocating its headquarters from Fairfield, Connecticut. A group reviewing potential sites is including the voting records of members of Congress on the Ex-Im Bank, as part of the criteria GE is using to make its final decision. Some states whose lawmakers opposed the reauthorization of the bank are no longer in the running.