Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg  in Washington September 11, 2014. REUTERS/Larry Downing

By Alwyn Scott

(Reuters) – Boeing Co is on the verge of losing sales due to the lack of a quorum on the U.S. Export-Import Bank, a situation that prevents it from providing financing for sizeable transactions, Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg said on Thursday.

The Senate Banking Committee should allow a vote on an EXIM board appointment, Muilenburg said at the trade-finance agency’s annual conference in Washington. The appointment has been held up for months, leaving only two board members, not enough to approve loans or guarantees of more than $10 million, which effectively blocks deals for Boeing and power equipment maker General Electric Co .

Muilenburg said Ethiopian Airlines [ETHA.UL] was among the customers concerned that a lack of EXIM financing could hamper its purchases.

Last year Boeing said it lost two signed or potential satellite deals after EXIM’s charter lapsed on June 30. The charter was renewed later in the year.

This year, global jetliner sales have slowed as an industry-wide boom in orders fades, making export credit more important.

Boeing plans to trim production in 2017. On Thursday it said it delivered 176 airliners in the first quarter. That pace is below Boeing’s target of 740 to 745 deliveries for the year, but many deliveries are made later in the year.

Muilenburg also voiced support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that has been an issue in the U.S. presidential campaigns.

He said the pact would not put U.S. workers at a disadvantage. He added that the defense industry needed a “dependable, robust” U.S. defense budget so it could invest.

(Reporting by Alwyn Scott; additional reporting by David Lawder in Washington, D.C.; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Alan Crosby)

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