Ready to export, but concerned about the expense? There are many costs to consider, and most smaller business need some sort of loan or help financing exports to get started. You’re in good hands, however. The federal government has many export financing programs available through the Export-Import Bank of the United States, U.S. Small Business Administration, and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Learn more by viewing Export Financing, the second video of the Get Paid and Finance Your Export Transaction set. Afterwards, you’ll have more insight on which export financing options are best for your business, as listed further below.
Last Published: 6/14/2018

U.S. Exporting Loans

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U.S. Export Financing Programs

There are four different types of U.S. government programs to help in financing export transactions: 
  • Export development and working capital financing
  • Facilities development financing
  • Financing for your international buyers
  • Investment project financing
The U.S. government also provides finance-related events and on-line training to further assist in exporting your products and services.

Export Development and Working Capital Financing enables U.S. businesses to obtain loans that facilitate the export of goods or services by providing the liquidity needed to accept new business, grow international sales and compete more effectively in the international marketplace.

  • Small Business Administration — Export Working Capital Program: Provides up to $5 million in short-term, transaction-specific working capital loans to U.S. small business exporters. Uses of this financing include: pre-export financing of labor and materials; and post-shipment financing of the accounts receivable generated from transaction-specific overseas sales.                                                                                                                               
  • Export-Import Bank — Working Capital Guarantee Program:  Provides transaction-specific working capital loans to U.S. exporters, made by commercial lenders and backed by Ex-Im Bank’s guarantee. Uses of this financing include: purchasing finished products for export; paying for raw materials, equipment, supplies, labor and overhead to produce goods and/or provide services for export; covering standby letters of credit serving as bid bonds, performance bonds, or payment guarantees; and financing foreign receivables.
  • Small Business Administration — Export Express Program: Provides small businesses that have exporting potential, but need funds to cover the initial costs of entering an export market with up to $500,000 in export development financing to buy or produce goods or to provide services for export. The loan proceeds can be used for most business purposes, including expansion, equipment purchases, working capital, inventory or real estate acquisitions. 

Facilities Development Financing enables U.S. businesses to acquire, construct, renovate, modernize, improve or expand facilities and equipment to be used in the United States to produce goods or services involved in international trade.
  • Small Business Administration — International Trade Loan Program: Provides U.S. businesses that are preparing to engage in or are already engaged in international trade, or are adversely affected by competition from imports with up to $5 million in financing to upgrade equipment and facilities. Although this loan program can also be used to refinance existing indebtedness that is not structured with reasonable terms and conditions, it cannot be used to purchase a business. 

Financing for your International Buyers enables U.S. businesses to assist their international buyers in locating financing to purchase U.S. goods and services when financing is otherwise not available or there are no economically viable interest rates on terms over one-to-two years. This type of financing is generally used for financing purchases of U.S. capital equipment and services. Financing may also be available for refurbished equipment, software, certain banking and legal fees and certain local costs and expenses.

  • Ex-Im Bank Export Credit Insurance:  Export Credit Insurance allows exporters to offer competitive open account terms to foreign buyers while minimizing the risk of non-payment.  When foreign accounts receivable are insured, lenders are more willing to increase the exporter’s borrowing capacity and offer more attractive financing terms.
  • USDA, Foreign Agricultural Service Export Credit Guarantees: Underwrites credit extended by the private banking sector in the United States to approved foreign banks using dollar-denominated, irrevocable letters of credit to pay for food and agricultural products sold to foreign buyers. These programs encourage exports to buyers in countries where credit is necessary to maintain or increase U.S. sales, but where financing may not be available without the guarantees. 

Investment Project Financing enables U.S. businesses to acquire financing for large-scale projects that require large amounts of capital, such as infrastructure, telecommunications, power, water, housing, airports, hotels, high-tech, financial services, and natural resource extraction industries.

Get Help, the U.S. federal government’s export assistance portal, offers many resources, including the following: 

Prepared by the International Trade Administration. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting