A man walks past the Export-Import Bank in Washington in 2015. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

While I greatly admire and respect George F. Will, his May 16 op-ed labeling the Export-Import Bank a “socialist” program was off-base and overlooked the realities of the modern global economy [“The Ex-Im Bank and the essence of socialism”]. The Ex-Im Bank is a vital tool for ensuring manufacturers’ competitiveness. An attack on the Ex-Im Bank is an attack on the United States’ manufacturing workers.

Around the world, our competitor countries are running about 100 export credit agencies. Without the Ex-Im Bank to help companies secure loans and close deals, other countries would use their agencies to lure manufacturers to their shores and steal jobs from the United States. Shutting down the Ex-Im Bank would hand China a significant economic victory.

The Ex-Im Bank doesn’t displace the private sector; its mandate requires it to operate as a “lender of last resort” for thousands of U.S. exporters unable to obtain financing from commercial banks.

The Ex-Im Bank has supported 2.5 million jobs since 2000. More than 90 percent of the Ex-Im Bank’s transactions directly support small businesses. And the Ex-Im Bank has generated $9.6 billion for taxpayers since 1992.

Manufacturers have to compete in the real world. It’s far easier to compete when you don’t give your rivals an unfair advantage just to prove ideological purity.

Jay Timmons, Washington

The writer is president and chief executive of the National Association of Manufacturers.