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China, rivals to 'pick up the slack' with lapse of US trade bank: White House

[WASHINGTON] The US Export-Import Bank will stop new loans and insurance activities at midnight on Tuesday, the White House said in a statement, a lapse it said could hurt exports and jobs and benefit rivals such as China.

The Ex-Im Bank's first lapse in its 81-year history comes after Congress failed to renew the its authority to make new loans or write new credit or trade guarantees. "When Ex-Im lapses, China and other foreign rivals will pick up the slack, putting American businesses and American workers at a disadvantage," the White House said.

President Barack Obama was slated to talk about how to end the lapse on a conference call on Tuesday with business leaders, labor unions and other officials, the White House said.

Conservative Republicans want to shut down the lender which they argue provides corporate welfare to US companies that count on its support, such as Boeing Co and General Electric Co.

Ex-Im's supporters hope to renew its charter sometime in July.

The bank itself will not close its doors on July 1. Its administrative budget, paid from fees it collects, is authorized through Sept 30, the end of the fiscal year.