As major international financial instruments, Export Credit Agencies influence a broad range of issues of worldwide concern, including climate change and human rights

At the same time, ECAs operate in a context of poor transparency and endemic corruption, making their activities difficult to monitor and their influence hard to assess.

Explore some of the key issues, concerns and instruments that ECA-Watch is working to address using the links below.


Activists demand end of massive OECD support for fossil fuels

Press release

Activists demand end of massive OECD support for fossil fuels

This week in Paris, a secretive body within the OECD will discuss the potential revision of the “gentlemen’s agreement” (1) under which they provide billions of dollars of public financing into the fossil fuel sector through their member export credit agencies.

Aircraft The aircraft industry relies heavily on support from official export credit.
Arms Trade Many ECAs play a major role in the financing and export of weapons to developing countries.
BRIC countries The ECAs of emerging economies are taking on an increasingly prominent role, prompting concerns from OECD countries.
Climate Change

In theory, ECA financing can have both a positive and negative impact on the global climate, but in reality ECAs have overwhelmingly financed projects which do more harm than good.

Export credit financing could equally provide support for appropriate sustainable and affordable renewable energy, or subsidize continued expansion of the dirty fossil fuel industry.

The problem with climate change

Common Approaches The OECD Common Approaches make recommendations for how ECAs should address environmental and social aspects of official export credit.
Corruption Corruption and bribery have been major and largely accepted features of ECA-backed projects, causing severe economic, social and political damage to exporting and importing countries alike.
Debt ECAs are the largest source of developing country external debt.
ECA Watch releases report 'ECAs and Human Rights: Failure to Protect'

GENEVA - December 3, 2014.

International civil society network ECA Watch released a new report today titled Export Credit and Human Rights: Failure to Protect at the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights. The report calls on states to fulfill their duty to protect human rights through the operations of their export credit agencies.                   

End Coal Financing

ECAs are by far the biggest source of public finance for coal overseas and play a major role in supporting coal globally. According to leaked OECD data, OECD export finance for coal has risen sharply in recent years; for 2005-2012 OECD export credits financed nearly one-quarter of new coal power capacity outside of China, providing about US$11.5 billion. Five countries represent around 90% of the volume: Japan, Korea, US, Germany, France.

European Union In August 2012, for the first time, EU Member States sent an annual report on their ECAs activities to the European Commission, which will report on whether ECAs have complied with the EU’s obligations, including respecting human rights and fighting climate change
G20 While NGOs and international environmental groups began to coordinate their efforts on OECD ECA "standards", similar pressures were also being pushed at the level of the G20. The general response was to give the impression that national ECAs, international development banks and other institutions were actively concerned about environmental and social standards, with weak transparency, standards and monitoring.
Human Rights It has been shown that many ECA-backed projects actually damage the economies of host countries, as well as the safety and human rights of the communities directly affected by the projects.
Large Dams Despite the tremendously detrimental impacts of many large dams on ecosystems and people, the OECD supports the industry with special financing terms.
Nuclear Governments with a domestic nuclear industry have been helping their companies find new markets and supporting their exports. ECAs became a very important tool for promoting nuclear exports when using aid money became politically problematic.
OECD The OECD Arrangement and the World Trad Organization's Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (ASCM)establish the global legal framework for export credit provision.
Pulp and Paper ECA-backed pulp and paper projects have contributed to environmental and social damage including massive deforestation illegal logging, pollution and human rights abuses.
Renewables ECAs undermine attempts to introduce renewable energies to developing countries by disproportionately subsidising fossil fuels.
Transparency ECAs are the least examined of all international financing institutions, despite providing by far the largest share of public financial investment from global North to South.
World Trade Organization Complex WTO rules on state subsidies affect countries’ export credit activities. These rules are intimately linked with the OECD Arrangement for export credits.