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 February 2015

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

  • France to transfer export credit programmes to Banque d'Investissement Publique
  • Export credit and human rights: Failure to Protect
  • French Rafale Fighter Jet Wins First Export Sale
  • Beijing provides export credit support for military exports
  • Rich world ECAs helping bankroll export of coal technology-data
  • Export Credit guarantees look to widen Islamic finance landscape
  • Gulf Banks Help Underwrite Region’s Aviation Boom
  • Korean ECA supplies 60 million Euro credit to Cuba
  • Sinosure deal suggests big plans for Chinese shipping and offshore drilling
  • ECIC supports the expansion of South African businesses in Africa
  • Bonny Island LNG Bribery Scandal Returns
  • Lobbying on U.S. export credit agency ramps up among critics, backers
  • Coalition lobbies US Export-Import bank on Barrier Reef

France to transfer export credit programmes to Banque d’Investissement Publique

(Les Echos, Paris, 23 February 2015) It was a tough start to the week and an eventful year for Coface. The government said Monday that it planned to withdraw the management of public export guarantees from Coface to entrust them to the Banque publique d'investissement (Bpifrance). This is to bring its financing tools to boost exports of French companies together under one roof. At Bercy, the decision has not yet been taken officially but reflection "on the future of public guarantees for export, involving more than 12,000 French exporters" is well underway. It should be completed before the end of the year.

(COFACE, Paris, 23 February 2015) The French government has announced that it is reviewing a change in the management of public export guarantees from Coface SA. which  has managed state export credit insurance activity since 1946. Coface is reimbursed for its costs incurred plus compensation which amounted in 2014 to 59,9M , or about 4% of its total turnover. Coface will engage in discussions with the state which will focus on the relevance of such a decision, as well as on the legal, social, financial and operational consequences of this move, should it be adopted.

http://www.lesechos.fr/finance-marches/banque-assurances/0204179808805-garantie-...


Export credit and human rights: Failure to Protect

(ECA Watch, Brussels, 18 February 2015) ECA Watch members Halifax Initiative, Both Ends and CounterCurrent, together with Brazilian organisation Forum Suape and Colombian organisation Movimiento Rios Vivos, published a new report entitled Export Credt and Human Rights: Failure to Protect. The report calls on states to fulfill their duty to protect human rights through the operations of their export credit agencies.

http://www.eca-watch.org/publications/export-credit-and-human-rights-failure-pro...


French Rafale Fighter Jet Wins First Export Sale

(Aviation Week, Paris, 17 February 2015) Nearly three decades after its first flight  the Dassault-built Rafale has garnered its first export sale. The Egyptian air force is buying 24 of the multi-role fighters, including 16 two-seater and eight single-seat jets. A FREMM frigate, built by French shipbuilder DCNS, is also in the offing, as are a number of missiles. These include MBDA Mica air-to-air and Scalp long-range missiles, Sagem AASM precision-guided bombs and Lacroix decoys. The contract, which is estimated at €5.2 billion ($5.9 billion), is backed 50% by France's export credit agency Coface, thanks to a pool of French banks. The financing excludes a €500-million downpayment that Cairo will pay by mid-March.

http://aviationweek.com/blog/french-rafale-wins-first-export-sale


Beijing provides export credit support for military exports

(Want China Times, Beijing, 15 February 2015) One of China's top military electronics companies has secured a credit worth 35 billion yuan (US$5.6 billion) for international sales activities, reports UK-based Jane's Defence Weekly. The China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC) will be granted the fund through a strategic cooperation agreement it signed with the Export-Import Bank of China earlier this month, according to China's State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND). Several weeks ago, China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC), another state-owned defense industry, obtained a credit worth 20 billion yuan (US$3.2 billion) from China Construction Bank. The SASTIND announcement shows a close tie between China's state-owned defense companies and banks. Most national defense companies have received similar credits that usually run into the billion dollar range from the banks over the last years.

http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20150215000063&cid=1101&...


Rich world ECAs helping bankroll export of coal technology-data

(Reuters, Brussels, 9 February 2015) Rich nations provided nearly $15 billion over a decade from 2003 to 2013 to fund exports of coal-fired power plant and coal mining technology, data seen by Reuters shows, defying calls to end subsidies for the most polluting of the fossil fuels... The subsidies -- provided via export credits, or preferential loans, guaranteed by governments -- will be discussed by European Union technical experts at a closed door meeting in Brussels later this month.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/02/09/coal-oecd-idUKL5N0VI0ME20150209


Export Credit guarantees look to widen Islamic finance landscape

(Reuters, London 4 February 2015) n">Credit guarantees are gaining traction in Islamic finance, helping a wider range of firms to tap the market for sharia-compliant debt, which remains stubbornly reliant on sovereign and quasi-sovereign issuers. A growing number of guarantors are developing expertise in this area, aiming to facilitate Islamic transactions both large and small. Among them is Britain's export credit agency, UK Export Finance, which plans this year to guarantee an Islamic bond (sukuk) issue for the first time under a capital market guarantee product that it launched in 2010, a UKEF spokesperson said. This would facilitate a deal for a Gulf-based customer of Airbus, whose identity has not been disclosed.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/04/islam-financing-guarantees-idUSL6N0VE0...


Gulf Banks Help Underwrite Region’s Aviation Boom

(Live Trading News, New York, 28 February 2015) Cash-rich Gulf banks are becoming bigger players in the region’s aviation boom, helping carriers like Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways to fund their fleet expansion. Flush with huge cash deposits estimated at $1.15-T, Gulf banks have the firepower to be increasingly competitive in aviation lending markets. Globally, funding from some international banks has also been less available since the Y 2009 global financial crisis, although a number have made a return to the market. It gives the region’s carriers access to cheap capital, while posing a threat to the dominance of global banks and aircraft lessors which have thrived on the accelerated growth of the Gulf aviation industry. Airlines traditionally relied more on leasing firms, export credit agencies, international banks and capital markets or just cash for their financing needs. But as their order books have swollen, carriers have widened their sources of financing in order to secure competitive rates and diversify risks. Export credit, once a cost-effective mainstay for the big 3 Gulf carriers has been pushed towards market rates as a result of changes in international financing rules.

MRO reports that in recent years the flow of cheap money from European and US export credit agencies has slowed dramatically, so airlines have had to seek alternatives to fund fleet renewal and expansion.

http://www.livetradingnews.com/gulf-banks-help-underwrite-regions-aviation-boom-...


Korean ECA supplies 60 million Euro credit to Cuba

(Business Korea, Seoul, 12 February 2015) The Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (K-sure) has signed an MOU for credit offering with the Central Bank of Cuba. The agreement is for the corporation to provide trade insurance of up to 60 million euros for Korean companies exporting their products to Cuba. The central bank is going to issue approvals for the letters of credit opened for import settlements. Prior to the agreement, guarantee had to be provided by a third-party bank in any credit transaction with Cuba, which required time and effort.

http://www.businesskorea.co.kr/article/9037/reaching-out-cuba-k-sure-supplies-ex...


Sinosure deal suggests big plans for Chinese shipping and offshore drilling

(Global Trade Review, London, 11 February 2015) ABN Amro has signed an agreement with Sinosure which will help the Chinese export credit agency boost its funding for shipping and offshore drilling. While no specific transactions have been earmarked for partner funding, the bank’s Asia head of export and project finance Erwin Boon tells GTR that the pair are already working on a “pipeline of projects” in these areas. In the usual ECA-backed model, the Dutch-headquartered ABN Amro is likely to provide medium and long-term financing to Chinese companies operating in the sector, guaranteed by Sinosure, while the Chinese agency is also hoping to draw on the bank’s experience in the sector. Sinosure has been previously active in the shipping sector however, its involvement in offshore drilling is less established and the latest move suggests that the ECA has been given a mandate by the Chinese government to increase its coverage of this sector. “It’s clear that the Chinese government has certain plans for shipping and offshore. Shipping is already huge. Production is higher in China than in Korea [where Kexim and K-Sure have been extremely active in the sector]. The Chinese government is managing that sector and Sinosure is one of the organisations that can play a substantial role in supporting it,” Boon says.

http://www.gtreview.com/trade-finance/global-trade-review-news/2015/February/Sin...


ECIC supports the expansion of South African businesses in Africa

(Alternative Energy eMagazine, San Diego, 18 February 2015) The Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa (ECIC) is actively supporting energy projects in various countries in Africa, specifically Sub-Saharan Africa, which is a key export market for the electro-technical industry in South Africa. South Africa's energy sector investment remains a focus of attention as the nation grapples with the challenges of load shedding and power constraints. With these challenges, exciting opportunities have opened up for South African manufacturers and energy businesses on the broader continent. ECIC, South Africa's government-backed export credit insurance agency, is providing these companies and projects with the backing that they need to successfully build their projects and place their footprints on the continent.

http://www.altenergymag.com/news/2015/02/18/ecic-supports-the-expansion-of-south...


Bonny Island LNG Bribery Scandal Returns

(Morning Star, London, 20 February 2015) Recently released HSBC files reveal that the bank's Swiss branch held accounts for Jeffrey Tesler, a London lawyer who was jailed in the US for a decade-long scheme to bribe Nigerian government officials to obtain contracts to build a liquid natural gas plant on Bonny Island in Nigeria. The bribes were paid on behalf of a consortium that included Halliburton's former subsidiary, KBR, whose successor company, Kellogg Brown & Root LLC, pleaded guilty in the US in 2009 to participating in the bribery scheme and was fined $402 million by the US Department of Justice. Tessler's company Tristar, which was used as a vehicle for the bribes, is also reported to have held an account with HSBC. The same bank also held the accounts for the companies that were used to transfer the bribes and the Nigerian politicians who took the bribes. A second member of the consortium, Snamprogetti Netherlands B.V, a former subsidiary of the Italian oil multinational Eni, also pleaded guilty to bribery charges in the US. The corrupt Bonny Island project was backed by Britain's ECGD (now UKEF), Italy's SACE, the Netherlands's NCM (now Atradius) and US Exim. The disclosure of these HSBC papers raises questions of how effective ECA reporting has been and is on bribery and due diligence for the banks they provide cover for.

http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-728b-Bribes-and-Prejudice


Lobbying on U.S. export credit agency ramps up among critics, backers

(Reuters, Washington, 18 February 2015) Clients and supporters of the U.S. export credit agency will descend on Capitol Hill next week to urge lawmakers to keep the Export Import Bank open as critics ramp up efforts to shut it down. A temporary lifeline extended last year will run out on June 30 unless Congress extends the bank's term,  a move strongly opposed by some Republicans who criticize Ex-Im's support for firms such as Boeing Co and Caterpillar Inc as corporate welfare.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/18/usa-trade-exim-idUSL1N0VS1Y820150218


Coalition lobbies US Export-Import bank on Barrier Reef

(Sierra Club, Washington 11 February 2015) A coalition of scientists, business owners, Australian elected officials, and civil society groups from the U.S. and Australia -- including the Sierra Club and  Friends of the Earth U.S. -- sent a letter to U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) Chairman Fred Hochberg calling on the Bank to reject any proposal to finance Adani's massive Carmichael coal mine and associated railways and export terminals in Australia. If completed, coal from Australia’s Galilee Basin will be mined and transported by rail to the coast, where it will be shipped overseas through ports expanded by dredging three million tonnes of seabed from the bottom of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Reports indicate that Ex-Im is considering financing the project with U.S. tax dollars, contradicting the spirit of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and recent climate progress both in the U.S. and abroad.

http://content.sierraclub.org/press-releases/2015/02/coalition-tells-us-export-i...


Export Credit and Human Rights: Failure to Protect

ECA Watch members Halifax Initiative, Both Ends and CounterCurrent, together with Brazilian organisation Forum Suape and Colombian organisation Movimiento Rios Vivos, published a new report entitled Export Credt and Human Rights: Failure to Protect. The report calls on states to fulfill their duty to protect human rights through the operations of their export credit agencies.

What's New January 2015

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

  • MEPs challenge Trade Commissioner on controversial paper contradicting EU policy on coal financing
  • Some coal plant exports should get financial aid: EU policy paper
  • UK Government Has Given £1.76 Billion To Fossil Fuel Industries Abroad Since 2010
  • No mention of Export-Import Bank in President Obama's State of the Union Address
  • Skeptics Doubtful of U.S. Telecom Investment in Broadband-Starved Cuba
  • China needs more measures to boost exports
  • Pakistan's Exim Bank to be set up through executive order
  • Pakistan's Mobilink tests export credit guarantee for sukuk
  • Zimbabwe: Govt in Bid to Boost Export Credits
  • Export Credit Remains Strong for Satellite Industry

MEPs challenge Trade Commissioner on controversial paper contradicting EU policy on coal financing

(European Parliament, Brussels, 30 January 2015) Twelve members of the European Parliament from 5 of the 7 political groupings in the Parliament have written EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström to express their "deep concerns about a non-paper for an EU position for the OECD negotiations drafted by your DG. According to this paper, public subsidies for the export of coal fired plants would be maintained. We believe that this proposal would be inconsistent with EU policies, especially with the claim of international climate leadership in the year of the COP21 where the world will assess the credibility of developed countries’ commitments to fight climate change." A European group of Finance Ministry officials will meet Monday 2nd February to finalise the EU position on public support for coal power plants abroad.

http://stopclimatechange.net/fileadmin/content/documents/Letter_Export__Credits_...


Some coal plant exports should get financial aid: EU policy paper

(Reuters, Brussels, 15 January 2015) European makers of equipment for coal-fired power plants should receive financial help to export it, an EU discussion paper seen by Reuters says, in a clash with the bloc's declared aim to lead the global fight against climate change. Coal is the most polluting fossil fuel, emitting around twice as much carbon dioxide as natural gas when used to generate power. As a result, the European Union is phasing out subsidies for domestic coal plants by 2018 and the European Investment Bank has set an emissions limit for the energy for which it provides preferential loans, meaning coal is excluded. The United States, together with Britain and the Netherlands, has also pushed for a phase-out of coal export credits.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/15/us-eu-coal-idUSKBN0KO1T720150115


UK Government Has Given £1.76 Billion To Fossil Fuel Industries Abroad Since 2010

(CleanTechnica, 12 January 2015) The UK government has, over the years 2010–2014, provided support totaling £1.76 billion (via Export Credit Guarantees) to fossil fuel industries abroad, according to a recent analysis from the EnergyDesk... Prime Minister David Cameron has repeatedly (in recent times anyways) spoken against fossil fuel subsidies; and their use appears to go against “promises” made in the current coalition government’s manifesto.

http://cleantechnica.com/2015/01/12/uk-government-provided-support-totalling-1-7...


No mention of Export-Import Bank in President Obama’s State of the Union Address

(Washington Examiner, 20 January 2015) President Obama did not discuss the Export-Import Bank in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, although the bank faces a June expiration of its charter... Obama has called the bank "critical" to U.S. businesses... It has come under fire in recent years from conservative Republicans who say it is corporate welfare, benefiting a handful of companies such as Boeing while placing taxpayers at risk.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/no-mention-of-export-import-bank-in-state-of-t...


Skeptics Doubtful of U.S. Telecom Investment in Broadband-Starved Cuba

(Channel Partners, Arizona, 9 January 2015) After more than a half-century of animosity between the U.S. government and the Communist regime under Fidel Castro, and now his brother Raúl, the Obama administration moved last month to establish diplomatic relations with Cuba and create a framework that would facilitate economic dealings between the two nations... Richard Feinberg, Brookings Institute Fellow and former assistant to President Clinton, said it’s possible that the Export-Import Bank of the United States – the U.S.’s official export credit agency – could offer Cuba a line of credit.

http://www.channelpartnersonline.com/articles/2015/01/skeptics-doubtful-of-u-s-t...


China needs more measures to boost exports

(ECNS, Beijing, 15 January 2015) Zhou Shijian of the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies says China needs another round of decisive measures to put its export growth on a firmer footing in 2015, amid declining demand in major foreign markets... In addition to the enforcement of previous measures such as paying export tax rebates faster, granting more loans to exporters, and increasing export credit insurance to small and medium-sized enterprises, Zhou said China must encourage more use of its currency in international trade, swap arrangements between central banks, bank deposits and bond trades.

http://www.ecns.cn/business/2015/01-15/150873.shtml


Pakistan’s Exim Bank to be set up through executive order

(Business Recorder, Karachi, 17 January 2015) Pakistan has reportedly decided to establish the much-delayed EXIM Bank through an Executive Order after formal approval of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. This decision was taken at a meeting on January 8, 2015 held by the Ministry of Finance with representatives from the Ministry of Commerce, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the Securities & Exchange Commission... The proposal to set up an EXIM Bank was part of the Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) 2012-15 approved by the PPP government. However, the decision has yet to be implemented. Additional Finance Secretary briefed the meeting on the work done so far and shared a draft law prepared by the Ministry of Finance. The Finance Secretary emphasised that the Exim Bank is a budgetary initiative and should have been established by now with at least a basic structure in place.

http://www.brecorder.com/money-a-banking/198/1142933/


Pakistan’s Mobilink tests export credit guarantee for sukuk

(Reuters, 13 January 2015) Pakistan Mobile Communications (Mobilink), the country's largest telecommunications operator, plans to raise 6.9 billion rupees ($68.6 million) via Islamic bonds this quarter, Pakistan Credit Rating Agency said in a statement. The sukuk, which will be listed, have been rated AA by the rating agency and will include a partial credit guarantee of 966 million rupees. The sukuk would help fund the network expansion of Mobilink, a wholly owned subsidiary of Global Telecom Holding, which is in turn majority-owned by Russia's VimpelCom. The credit guarantee will be extended by Mauritius-based GuarantCo, a specialised financial guarantor indirectly owned by the development agencies of Britain, Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/13/pakistan-mobile-sukuk-idUSL6N0US0AQ201...


Zimbabwe: Govt in Bid to Boost Export Credits

(Allafrica News, Harare, 20 January 2015) The Government has stepped up efforts to capacitate the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation whose major role is to boost exports. According to the Insurance and Pension Commission, plans to recapitalise the organisation were now advanced... Sources close to the development said that the recapitalisation of the corporation, a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, was going to be tied to the recapitalisation of the central bank... The corporation was prohibited around 2012 from handling any new business due to its failure to raise the minimum capital required... Since then it has been working on the business that it had secured prior to its suspension from handling new business.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201501200597.html


Export Credit Remains Strong for Satellite Industry

(Mondaq, Washington, 9 January 2015) Satellite industry becomes fastest growing of U.S. Ex-Im Bank’s credit sectors, with growth from $50m to $1b in loans per year since 2010; Export Credit Agency of Russia announces plans to actively support ILS ; and Export Development Canada provides €123m in financing to Hispasat for procurement of Hispasat 1F.

http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/365532/Aviation/Space+Business+Review+Speci...


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