Vietnam Pulls Request for U.S. Ex-Im Help to Build a Coal-Fired Power Plant

(New York Times, Hong Kong, 13 February 2018) A Vietnamese company is no longer seeking American financial support to build a coal-fired power plant in Vietnam, bringing to an abrupt end a closely watched test of whether Washington would back international projects that could potentially contribute to climate change. On Thursday, the Export-Import Bank of the United States, a lender run by the American government, said the Vietnamese state-controlled company, PetroVietnam, had withdrawn its application for financial support. In this case, a green light would have allowed PetroVietnam to purchase millions of dollars’ worth of turbines and other equipment from General Electric, the American manufacturer. The project, which is already under construction, faced intense criticism inside and outside the United States. Environmental and other groups said the project would have had a greater environmental impact than reports submitted by PetroVietnam had suggested. The World Bank and other major institutions have increasingly avoided backing projects supported by developing countries that burn coal and other fossil fuels, which emit greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. The UK’s version of the Ex-Im Bank had declined to offer financial support for the Long Phu 1 project for similar reasons.