Welcome to ECA Watch

Export credit agences provide government-backed loans, guarantees and insurance to corporations working internationally in some of the most volatile, controversial and damaging industries on the planet.

Shrouded in mystery, ECAs provide financial backing for risky projects that might never otherwise get off the ground. They are a major source of national debt in developing countries.

ECA Watch is a network of NGOs from around the world. We come together to campaign for ECA reform - better transparency, accountability, and respect for environmental standards and human rights.

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What's New November 2013

What's New! is a periodic update to keep you informed of the latest on the ECA Watch website. What's New features a wide range of materials related to the reform of Export Credit Agencies (ECAs), including NGO publications and releases, news articles, commentaries and announcements about the policies and practices of ECAs and ECA-financed projects world-wide.

If you would like to receive What's New! you can subscribe at www.eca-watch.org  Questions? Email info@eca-watch.org

  • Still exporting destruction: A civil society assessment of Export Credit Agencies’ compliance with EU Regulation (PE-CONS 46/11)
  • Hold the applause on UK no-coal finance announcement
  • Do Swedish ECAs support exports at the expense of human rights?
  • US Caterpillar jobs bouyed by Australian Roy Hill iron mine and US Ex-Im
  • Aircraft orders focus attention on export credit
  • Australian ECA EFIC annual report shows rising loans
  • Human rights Institutes concerned about OECD Common Approaches
  • Sri Lanka foreign export credits led by China
  • UK Export Finance and Korea

Still exporting destruction: A civil society assessment of Export Credit Agencies’ compliance with EU Regulation (PE-CONS 46/11)

November 14, 2013

ECA Watch has prepared this ‘shadow report’ — with the support of other civil society groups — in order to assess current ECA practice in relation to issues such as transparency, public accountability and more generally, their compliance with the EU’s objectives on external action. It is based on ECAs’ own annual public reports, questionnaires sent to Export Credit Agencies (ECA), and freedom of information requests. The report starts by giving some background information regarding ECAs and how they are regulated. It analyses ECAs’ answers to ECA Watch’s questionnaires, and highlights a couple of case studies to illustrate our concerns. It analyses the annualreports that Member States sent to the EC and highlights points that should be investigated further by the EC. It concludes by indicating options for the European Commission, Council and Parliament to improve the regulatory framework for EU ECAs.

http://www.fern.org/stillexportingdestruction


Hold the applause on UK no-coal finance announcement

(Guardian, 20 November 2013, Warsaw) British taxpayers' money will no longer be used to build coal-fired power stations in developing countries, the energy secretary Ed Davey pledged November 20th, as the fortnight-long United Nations climate talks in Poland entered their final phase. The UK has provided about $500m (£300m) for such projects in the past seven years, mostly through its funding for development banks, according to research by the US Natural Resources Defence Council. Ending that is meant to encourage countries to move to low-carbon energy. However critics have said 'hold the applause", noting that, contrary to Ed Davey's announcement, British taxpayer's money can still be used to fund coal power stations because the new policy explicitly excludes UK Export Finance, the main part of the UK government which backs loans to other countries. It is like pledging not to eat sugary food, but exempting chocolate.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/20/uk-coal-fired-power-stations


Do Swedish ECAs support exports at the expense of human rights?

Through its export credit agencies (ECAs) EKN and SEK, the Swedish state insures and finances Swedish companies' export. These operations are extensive. The Swedish ECAs have in their portfolios the responsibility for hundreds of billions of Swedish kronor, and in 2012 alone EKN guaranteed transactions of a value of 49 billion SEK in 123 countries. In two previous reports, Amnesty International and Diakonia examined and followed up the extent to which EKN and SEK take account of human rights in their credit assessments. Although the follow-up report from 2012 showed that steps had been taken in the right direction such as greater transparency, new procedures and new policy documents, we can note in our third report that large gaps still exist.

Read the report here.

http://www.eca-watch.org/publications/newsletter-items/do-swedish-ecas-support-e...


US Caterpillar jobs bouyed by Australian Roy Hill iron mine and US Ex-Im

(Herald Review, 15 November 2013, Decatur) After a year as gloomy as the bottom of a mineshaft, Caterpillar Inc. woke up to a bright ray of sunshine Thursday. The U.S. Export-Import Bank wants to say “yes” to making a $694 million loan that will help support more than 3,000 jobs, including hundreds in Decatur. The Washington, D.C.-based bank is the official export credit agency of the nation and steps in to aid American businesses hunting big overseas orders. The $694 million in financing will enable the controversial Roy Hill iron ore mine in Australia to buy boatloads of Caterpillar mining equipment, especially the giant off-road trucks, the world’s biggest, built at its Decatur factory.

http://herald-review.com/news/local/import-export-loan-holds-out-hope-for-caterp...


Aircraft orders focus attention on export credit

(Wall Street Journal, 19 November 2013, Dubai) The $200 billion aircraft order bonanza at the Dubai Airshow has focused attention on the little-known system of government export credit agencies, which are used to help fund planes and other big-ticket equipment such as power generators. Proponents such as Boeing - a big winner at the show - maintain that ECAs are a crucial part of doing business, and competing with overseas rivals such as Airbus. Critics insist they distort industries, since not all airlines can access the support, while proponents of small government in the U.S. reckon they should be closed down.

http://stream.wsj.com/story/latest-headlines/SS-2-63399/SS-2-386413/


Australian ECA EFIC annual report shows rising loans

(Sydney Morning Herald, 25 November 2013, Sydney) Australia's export credit agency wrote more loans in the 2013 financial year than the year before, despite almost halving the total amount of taxpayers' funds it provided. The mining sector comprised almost half of its financial assistance, with EFIC's single biggest commitment being a $US150 million loan for the Ichthys LNG project in Darwin. EFIC was among eight export credit agencies and 24 commercial banks to participate in the $US20 billion financing of the project, the world's biggest. EFIC has been criticised in recent times for loaning to large corporations such as Exxon Mobil and Leighton Holdings, and it was urged by a Productivity Commission report in 2012 to ''substantially reorientate'' its focus towards small exporters, rather than big companies that can easily source money elsewhere at low interest rates.

http://www.smh.com.au/business/export-finance-and-insurance-corporation-annual-r...


Human rights Institutes concerned about OECD Common Approaches

In their submission to the OECD ECWG consultation with CSOs on 19 November 2013, the Danish, French and German national human rights Institutes identified the following main issues of concern regarding the consistency of actions of the OECD Working Party and national export credit agencies with the requirements of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights3:

  • Integration of human rights: How is respect for human rights being effectively integrated as an evaluative criterion for ECA-sponsored activities at national level, in line with the state duty to protect human rights, as set out in Pillar I of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the corporate responsibility to respect, under Pillar II?
  • Improving transparency: Transparency is prerequisite to accountability of state and private sector duty bearers to human rights standards, but is currently lacking in relation to export-credit supported activities. What role will the Common Approaches, and the Working Party, play in resolving this?
  • Grievance mechanisms: What steps are the Working Party and national authorities taking to meet the requirement for effective mechanisms to provide a remedy for any complaints relating to ECA-sponsored activities, in line with the requirements of Pillar III of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights?
http://tinyurl.com/nhdp4fj


Sri Lanka foreign export credits led by China

(Lanka Business Online, 28 November 2013, Colombo) Sri Lanka has US$1.9 billion of new bilateral and multilateral commitments up to September 2013 led by China with export credit from other countries also showing increases, a finance ministry report showed. China has committed US$517.9 million up to September, Japan US$421.5 million, Asian Development Bank US$371.2 million, the World Bank US$196.4 million, the United Kingdom US$103.7 millionand USA US$64.9 million. While Japan, the ADB and World Bank give long term loans at low interest China gives export credits at semi-commercial terms. Sri Lanka has been using large volumes of export credits and supplier finance for infrastructure from the Exim Bank of China, but other countries are now also giving larger volumes of export credits.

http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/news/sri-lanka-foreign-lenders-led-by-china,-...


UK Export Finance and Korea

UK Export Finance has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) on reinsurance with the Korean export credit agency, Korea Trade Insurance Corporation and with Korea Eximbank on mutual support.
The agreement sets out how UK Export Finance (UKEF) and the Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (K-Sure) will cooperate in the field of export credits, facilitate collaboration, and better co-ordinate efforts on projects in other markets where there are export opportunities for both the UK and Korea. The signing was witnessed by Business Secretary, Vince Cable, and the Korean Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy, Yoon Sang-jick.

This MOU follows the signing yesterday of a separate MOU on Mutual Support between UK Export Finance and Korea Eximbank, the Export-Import Bank of Korea.




Still exporting destruction: A civil society assessment of Export Credit Agencies’ compliance with EU Regulation (PE-CONS 46/11)

November 14, 2013

ECA Watch has prepared this ‘shadow report’ — with the support of other civil society groups — in order to assess current ECA practice in relation to issues such as transparency, public accountability and more generally, their compliance with the EU’s objectives on external action. It is based on ECAs’ own annual public reports, questionnaires sent to Export Credit Agencies (ECA), and freedom of information requests.

Member: 

What's New October 2013

What's New! is a periodic update to keep you informed of the latest on the ECA Watch website. What's New features a wide range of materials related to the reform of Export Credit Agencies (ECAs), including NGO publications and releases, news articles, commentaries and announcements about the policies and practices of ECAs and ECA-financed projects world-wide.

If you would like to receive What's New! you can subscribe at www.eca-watch.org  Questions? Email info@eca-watch.org

  • CSOs request ECAs discontinue financing of coal projects
  • European Parliament approves anti-corruption and human rights report
  • Ex-Im Bank Supports Export of U.S. Aircraft for Food Security in Brazil
  • Vnesheconombank and the Export-Import Bank of China Sign Framework Agreement
  • Jubilee Australia calls for review of Australian ECA links to Leighton Holdings bribery scandal
  • OECD Working Party on Export Credits Consultation with Civil Society - 19 November 2013 - Paris
  • Aircraft-backed bonds grow as ECA and commercial bank finance slows
  • Atradius Dutch State Business expands Dutch export financing pool to non-OECD banks
  • Berne Union elects new officers
  • German Seminar on the OECD's Common Approaches - 11 November 2013 - Berlin

CSOs request ECAs discontinue financing of coal projects

CSOs have written to urge OECD Export Credit Agencies to discontinue financing of coal projects, to suggest the provision of beneficial financing for carbon capture and storage and other fossil fuel technologies in the Sector Understanding and to express concern re the need for increased transparency from the OECD Export Credit Group and the Participants with respect to climate change-related policy setting and implementation processes.

Read their letter here




European Parliament approves anti-corruption and human rights report

(European Parliament, Strasbourg, 8 October 2013) The European Parliament has approved a resolution on corruption and human rights in the public and private sectors which includes a clause calling on bilateral and multilateral financial institutions, including the World Bank Group, IMF, regional development banks, export credit agencies and private sector banks, to require extractive companies and governments to comply with the ‘Publish What You Pay’ requirements and/or EITI standards on transparency of payments as a pre-condition for all project support.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT%2BREPORT%2BA7-2...


Ex-Im Bank Supports Export of U.S. Aircraft for Food Security in Brazil

(Ex-Im Bank, Washington, 1 October 2013) The Export-Import Bank of the United States has announced support for a 7-figure purchase of 2 new American agricultural aircraft by a soybean and corn agribusiness in Brazil from Air Tractor Inc. Ex-Im provided a medium-term insurance policy that was designed to mitigate risk in export of capital goods. Friends of the Earth Europe notes that "Soy expansion has devastating impacts on people. It is linked to significant increases in the prices of staple foods. Smallholder farmers and indigenous communities are displaced from their land because of it. This destroys small farms which have traditionally grown a large proportion of the food staples people need. Soy is causing family farms to die out, thus reducing food security."

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/10/prweb11181491.htm


Vnesheconombank and the Export-Import Bank of China Sign Framework Agreement

(Vnesheconombank, Moscow, 22 October 2013) In the course of the 18th regular meeting of the Heads of State in the presence of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Premier of China’s State Council Li Keqiang, Vnesheconombank signed a framework agreement with the Export-Import Bank of China on opening a credit line worth 700 million US dollars. The agreement provides for extending credit facilities to Vnesheconombank to fund projects to be implemented on Russia’s territory in partnership with Chinese companies.

http://www.veb.ru/en/press/news/arch_news/index.php?id_19=30853


Jubilee Australia calls for review of Australian ECA links to Leighton Holdings bribery scandal

(Jubilee Australia, Sydney, 15 October 2013) In the past two weeks corporate Australia has been rocked by reports of bribes being paid by one of the country’s largest companies, Leighton Holdings. These bribes were supported by Australian taxpayers’ money, handed out by a little-known and secretive government body called the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC).

http://www.jubileeaustralia.org/latest-news/jubilee-australia-calls-for-review-o...


OECD Working Party on Export Credits Consultation with Civil Society

(OECD ECG, Paris, 8 October 2013) ECA Watch has been invited to a Consultation between Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Members of the OECD’s Working Party on Export Credits and Credit Guarantees (ECG) and the Participants to the Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits to take place on Tuesday, 19 November 2013, from 9.30 a.m. to 1.00 p.m., at the OECD Conference Centre, Paris. The aim of this Consultation is to provide an opportunity for representatives from NGOs, banking, business, industry and trade unions to exchange views with OECD Members on issues relating to officially supported export credits. The Secretariat will also provide an update of recent and current developments. The last public minutes of the ECG's regular meetings posted on their web site are for their April 2011 meeting.




Aircraft-backed bonds grow as ECA and commercial bank finance slows

(Reuters, London, 11 October 2013) The bond markets are turning into a regular funding platform for airline companies which have in the past relied heavily on export credit agencies and commercial bank lending to finance deliveries of their vast aircraft fleets. The opening of the bond funding option has come as a blessing for airlines, which are finding it harder to fund or refinance their aircraft via the traditional route of export credit agencies and commercial bank lending. Beginning in January, higher fees and equity requirements mandated by the OECD went into force, according to Boeing Capital Corp, which in a note to investors said that, barring any severe shock, export credit support for new aircraft deliveries is expected to keep declining. Moreover, commercial bank lending has become more expensive, leaving the capital markets as the most cost-effective option for funding.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/11/virgin-bonds-idUSL1N0I11C320131011


Atradius Dutch State Business expands Dutch export financing pool to non-OECD banks

(Atradius Dutch State Business, Amsterdam, 15 October 2013) Dutch ECA Atradius Dutch State Business has announced that banks outside the OECD area are now eligible for export credit cover if they finance Dutch exports. Up to now, only banks from the Netherlands and other OECD countries could benefit from insurance and guarantees which Atradius provides on behalf of the Dutch State. By extending its cover to more banks globally, Dutch companies can attract financing for their exports from a larger pool of banks. This wider choice of bank financing gives them a competitive advantage.

http://www.atradius.nl/nieuws/pers-berichten/atradius-dutch-state-business-expan...


Berne Union elects new officers

(Creditman, Vienna, 15 October 2013) At its Annual General Meeting 2013, the Berne Union – International Union of Credit & Investment Insurers, elected new officers, including President, Vice President and Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs. The Berne Union combines public export credit agencies (ECAs) and private market insurers of export credit and investment. Public and private players in the Berne Union cooperate and join their strengths in the form of underwriting expertise and insurance capacity. Since the global financial crisis in 2008, Berne Union members have indemnified approximately US$ 22 billion to exporters and investors, protecting them from losses suffered due to buyer defaults in all regions of the world.

http://www.creditman.biz/uk/members/news-view.asp?newsviewID=18804


German Seminar on OECD Common Approaches - 11 November 2013 - Berlin

The Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance, the OECD and the German Institute for Human Rights are holding a joint meeting on: Social and human rights standards in the promotion of foreign trade to implement the "Common Approaches on the Environment and Officially Supported Export Credits" of the OECD and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The meeting will be held at the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA School of Governance in Berlin from 18:00-21:00 on 11 November 2013. Some English-German simultaneous translation will be available.

http://www.institut-fuer-menschenrechte.de/aktuell/veranstaltungen/veranstaltung...


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