Index for December 2006

Volume 5, Issue 12

  • (ECA Watch, 19 December 2006) The UK's Serious Fraud Office has closed its corruption investigation into an ECGD guaranteed British defence contract with Saudi Arabia. ECA Watch members CAAT and the Cornerhouse are exploring the possibility of taking legal action against the decision.
  • (ECA Watch, Paris, 15 December 2006) In the 2006 Annual Report on the OECD MNC Guidelines, the Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs of the OECD noted that thirteen out of 28 OECD Export Credit Agencies have failed to comply with their agreement of April 2003 to promote the Guidelines.
  • (NZZ Online, Zurich, 15 December 2006) The Swiss government has agreed to underwrite the export risks of firms taking part in a Turkish dam project, but only if international standards are fully met. The proposed Ilisu dam in the southeastern province of Anatolia has provoked controversy because it will flood a large area and force 55,000 people, mostly Kurds, to leave their homes. German ECA Hermes has also agreed in principle to guarantee the German construction company Zueblin for its activities in Ilisu on condition that at least 35 of some 150 conditions are met. The dam violates most international environmental norms and its approval by OECD based ECAs demonstrates a clear lack of serious commitment to standards which are currently being renegotiated.
  • (ECA Watch, Paris, 19 December 2006) At the annual general meeting of the Berne Union, an organization of private and governmental export credit and investment insurance agencies, members announced a total of $1 trillion in new business in 2005.
  • (ECA Watch, Paris, 13 December 2006) Exxon, winner of the Worst EU Lobbying Award, has received US$1.76 Billion in US Ex-Im Bank and OPIC subsidies since 1995.
  • (IRN, Berkeley, 8 December 2006) On December 8, ECA Watch member, the International Rivers Network, was invited to meet the President of the China Exim Bank in Beijing.
  • (ECA Watch, Paris, 19 December 2006) China continues to attract considerable attention in export credit circles. Despite the scepticism of OECD ECAs, who themselves are having difficulty agreeing on higher environmental standards, China's Ex Im Bank has expressed a commitment to protection of the environment balanced with economic development. ECA Watch looks forward to greater dialogue and sharing with all parties on these issues in the coming year.
  • (Mining Weekly, South Africa, 14 December 2006) Copper miner Equinox Minerals has signed a $583,8-million bank debt facility for the construction and development of Lumwana project, located in the north-western province of Zambia. The project debt facility would be provided by a syndicate of European, African and Australian based commercial lenders, Developmental Finance Institutions and Export Credit Agencies.
  • (PaperAge, Hingham MA, USA, 13 December 2006) - Spanish pulp, paper and wood products producer Ence yesterday announced a new location for its planned 500,000 ton per year pulp mill in Uruguay after Argentina complained it would harm tourism and the environment at its original site on the Argentina-Uruguay border. The Spanish ECA (CESCE) and the International Financial Corporation (IFC) have received requests for support of this controversial project.
  • (San Diego Tribune, 7 December 2006) Faced with criticisms that the US Ex-Im Bank is the bank of Boeing, General Electric, Haliburton, Exxon, etc., the US Congress has approved changes to the U.S. export credit agency to make it more focused on small business.
  • (Halifax Initiative, Ottawa, 11 December 2006) The 23 projects featured on the map show wide temporal and geographic scope - showing that the incidence of Canadian mining projects associated with significant adverse social and environmental problems is far more widespread than the mining industry would have us believe. The map shows that many mines benefit from public support - both directly from the Canadian government (including EDC) and through IFIs.