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What's New! Vol. II, No.4


March 17, 2003

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The "What's New!" is a bi-weekly email update to keep you informed of the latest uploads onto the website which features a wide range of materials submitted by over 50 NGOs actively participating in the coalition. If you would like to be added onto the recipients list for "What's New!", join ECA-Action, the mailing list that disseminates latest articles, commentaries and announcements around policies and practices of ECAs and ECA-supported projects around the world. To join, simply sign up from the website, www.eca-watch.org today!
Questions? Email info@eca-watch.org

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In this issue:

1) The US ExIm Role in Saddam Hussein's Chemical Weapons Program

2) The UK Role in Saddam Hussein's Chemical Weapons Program

3) GIEK-Supported Norwegian Ship Exports Brings Ecuadorian Debt

4) NGOs Call On IDB and Exim Bank to Drop Camesea Project

5) ECAs Block APP Debt Restructuring

6) PT Paiton Energy of Indonesia-- also restructuring its ECA debt

1) Exim and Saddam:

The Washington Post recently ran a story documenting the US' key role in helping Saddam Hussein obtain chemical weapon capabilities in the 1980s and early '90s. The article indicates that US Export-Import Bank (Exim) apparently supported the export of potentially lethal pesticides to Iraq, citing an Ex-Im Bank memo that states that there was "'no reason' to stop the sale, despite evidence that the pesticides were 'highly toxic' to humans and would cause death 'from asphyxiation.'"

2) ECGD and Saddam:

During the 1980s, the UK's Export Credits Guarantee Department likely helped finance chemical weapons in Iraq through its support in a chemical factory, according to the Guardian.

As the US and UK search the world around for financiers of weapons of mass destruction...

3) GIEK Supported Norwegian Ship Exports Brings Ecuadorian debt:

The Ecuadorian NGO, Centro De Derechos Economicos Y Sociales (CDES) has made its Nov. 2002 report, "Illegitimate Debts and Human Rights, available on its website in both English and Spanish. The report documents how credits from the Norwegian Guarantee Institute for Exports Credits (GIEK) supported the export of four Norwegian ships to Equator, resulting in sovereign debt for the country. Coincidentally, the location of these ships remains unknown. The report lays out "proposals and arguments in favor of the cancellation of illegitimate debts, arguing for the possibility of independent international arbitration and mediation."

Read the report in English or Spanish.

4) NGOs Call On IDB and Exim Bank to Drop Camesea Project:

On February 25, 2003, a coalition of environmental and human rights NGOs issued a comprehensive statement calling on the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to reject financing for the Camesea oil and gas project in Brazil. The Camesea project, under consideration by IDB and US Export-Import Bank, threatens "an area recognized globally for its spectacular biodiversity and for being home to isolated and uncontacted indigenous peoples."

http://www.foe.org/new/releases/0203camisea.html

5) ECAs Block APP Debt Restructuring, while PT Paiton Debt Restructuring Proceeds:

ECAs from Europe and Canada have threatened to block a proposed restructuring of the multi-billion dollar debt owed by the Singapore-based Asia Pulp and Paper, according to the February 7, 2003 Financial Times. ECAs collectively provided over billions in financing for APP, an Asian pulp and paper giant owned by Suharto cronies that has stripped vast areas of
rainforest and sparked clashes with native people. For more info, see Case Study: Export Credit Agency Finance in Indonesia, by Titi Soentoro and Stephanie Fried.

6) Meanwhile, United Press International reported on March 11, 2003 that PT Paiton Energy, another Suharto era ECA-backed project debacle in Indonesia, is also restructuring its debt with ECAs. U.S. Export-Import Bank, U.S. Overseas Private Investment Japanese Bank for International Cooperation, Nippon Export and Investment Insurance of Japan all helped finance this failed project. For more info, see Publicly Guaranteed Corruption: Corrupt Power Projects and the Responsibility of Export Credit Agencies in Indonesia, by Peter Bosshard (available on ECA-Watch website).

II. View 'back issues':

February 20, 2003

February 7, 2003

January 24, 2003

December 17, 2002

November 22, 2002

October 29, 2002

October 23, 2002

September 30, 2002

September 12, 2002

August 26, 2002

August 02, 2002 - ECA Watch web team was on vacation.

July 19, 2002

July 08, 2002

June 14, 2002

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