Index for January 2007

Volume 6, Issue 1

  • (ECA Watch, Paris, 30 January 2007) The OECD has released it's 2005 ECA statistics only in PDF format and with some evident errors. ECA Watch is converting their material to Excel format to permit analysis of this data and an initial summary is available.(PDF) Copies of the spreadsheet will be available from facilitator at eca-watch.org
  • (ECA Watch, Paris, 31 January 2007) Legal action by UK NGOs and criticism by an OECD anti-bribery group has generated extensive news coverage of Prime Minister Blair's suppression of the Serious Fraud Office investigation of bribery in the export credit supported sale of fighter aircraft by BAE to Saudi Arabia.
  • (ECA Watch, Paris, 31 January 2007) Having approved financing for the Ilisu dam project in Turkey in December despite its failure to comply with international standards, Hermes, OeKB and ERG have to-date refused to release the environmental and social conditions they have asked Turkey to meet prior to final approval. The 50 to 78 thousand people to be displaced, mainly Kurds, have no assurances that resettlement plans will be adequate, nor will downstream states such as Iraq know what the impact on international water supplies will be.
  • Coface outlines Yusufeli conditions

    (ECA Watch, Paris, 31 January 2007) While ECA conditions for Turkey's Ilisu dam are kept secret, French ECA Coface has outlined it's conditions for the Yusufeli dam to NGOs so that a somewhat more open process of review of their adequacy is possible.
  • (AFRODAD, Harare, 29 January 2007) An international workshop on Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) and their role in the indebtedness and environmental degradation of Africa was held in Yaoundé, Cameroon on 17 and 18 October 2006. Research into the impact of ECA funding in Cameroon, Nigeria and Zambia showed that the largest part of the borrowing went towards non-developmental consumer goods and general services and identified problematic projects, including critiques from African business that ECA credit favours trade rather than investment.
  • (Embassy Magazine, Ottawa 17 January 2007) Canada's foreign missions in Africa are usually very helpful when exporters encounter difficulties. "Collecting bills is a not fun thing, but the commercial representative at the embassy, in most cases, would help a lot by pressuring a foreign government to keep its promise and pay," said a Canadian consultant.
  • (IPP Media, London, 16 January 2007) TwoTanzanian business moguls have admitted they were secretly paid $12m, or 30% of the contract, by BAE, the UK`s biggest arms supplier, in a controversial deal in which Tanzania bought an obsolete military radar system. The UK Export Credits Guarantee Department has guidelines under which a ``commission`` of more than 5-10% is automatically regarded as questionable and it is not clear why suspicions of bribery were not raised. The OECD Export Credit Working Group has recently converted its Action Statement on Bribery to an OECD Recommendation, raising expectations that its peer review process will seek explanations from the ECGD on why deterent action was not taken.
  • (Financial Express, Washington 11 January 2007) The United States and Japan have agreed to develop a joint civil nuclear energy action plan that would include setting up new atomic power plants in the United States with Japanese financing.
  • (Business Credit Management, London, 2 January 2007) Ratings agencies have upgraded the major insurance entities of Coface group, making it the highest rated credit insurer in the world. Coface is one of the world's largest credit insurers with an estimated 18% global market share and a leading export credit insurer with a 25% market share.
  • (Reuters, Ottawa, 8 January 2007) Canada has launched a challenge at the World Trade Organization against what it sees as trade-distorting subsidies and export credits the United States gives to its corn farmers.
  • (AP, Washington, 7 January 2007) Since its creation in 1934, the Export-Import Bank has used public money as credit to help American companies compete for sales overseas against likewise subsidized foreign exporters. The agency has come under fire for failing to award at least 20% of its financing to small businesses and has been derided as the "Bank of Boeing." In 2005, about 30% of its $14 billion in total financing backed Boeing Co., while 19.1% went to small business deals.
  • (Yonhap, Seoul 29 January 2007) -- South Korea's state export insurer said Monday it plans to provide 88 trillion won (US$93.5 bilIion) of export insurance this year to protect local companies from the possibility of nonpayment by foreign buyers or currency concerns. Korea held the largest OECD ECA portfolio according to 2005 OECD data.