Index for April 2007

Volume 6, Issue 4

  • (ECA Watch, Paris, 26 April 2007) On April 23-24, 2007, the OECD's secretive Export Credit Working Group (ECG) apparently approved revised and weakened environmental and social standards governing projects supported by export credit guarantees or loans of greater than 10 million SDRs (US$15.3 million or 11.2 million). Article 13 of the virtually final negotiating draft of these standards, known as the Recommendation on Common Approaches on Environment and Officially Supported Export Credits, allows OECD export credit agencies (ECAs) to opt out of applying any standards at all should they so decide, provided that they report this to the notoriously secretive and effectively unaccountable OECD working group.
  • (Corner House/KHRP/WEED, 25 April 2007) Despite misleading ECA and Turkish claims of Iraqi approval of the Ilisu dam, Iraq's Water Minister has stated that no consultations or negotiations had taken place prior to the ECAs’ decision despite this being prescribed by international law. Turkey did not provide comprehensive information to Iraq and Syria, thus violating the conditions tied to the export credit guarantees before they were even given. German, Austrian and Swiss ECA agreement with Turkey's unilateral fixing of a minimum downstream flow undermines Iraq’s and Syria’s water rights under international law.
  • (ECA Watch, Paris, 25 April 2007) The UK Government's decision to drop a Serious Fraud Office investigation of allegations that BAE Systems was involved in the bribery of Saudi officials linked to a major ECGD supported arms sale has led to a series of charges that both BAE and the UK Government are sabotaging OECD and NGO efforts through behind the scenes diplomacy and paid agents investigating peace campaigners.
  • (ECGD, London, 23 April 2007) The Yansab (Arabic for "smooth") complex, will be built on the Red Sea coast in the industrial city of Yanbu by SABIC (Saudi Basic Industries Corporation). The complex, which is due to start production in mid-2008, will contain the world's biggest ethane 'cracker' and will be one of the world's largest petrochemical complexes. ECGD is providing $150m of support alongside Italy's SACE which is providing $550m of support.
  • (Financial Express, Mumbai, 14 April 2007) Export Import Bank of India (EXIM) has extended two lines of credit worth USD 40 million to Mali and Dijibouti, taking the aggregate credit commitments by the bank to USD 2.30 billion.
  • (World Trade Magazine, Washington, 1 April 2007) Eleven US companies are competing to sell protection against the risk of non-payment by foreign customers. That has brought expanded capacity to handle risk, an intense rivalry, lower premium rates, and more varied underwriting strategies. There’s also a “European transplants” group, three large credit insurance specialists that bought U.S. insurers, including Atradius Trade Credit Insurance (Amsterdam HQ), Coface North America (Paris), and Euler Hermes ACI (Paris).
  • (Guardian, London, 4 April 2007) During the crisis triggered by Iran's capture of 15 British naval personnel, Charles Tannock, conservative foreign affairs spokesman in the European parliament, suggested Europe should take a united stand on the Iranian crisis by suspending export credit guarantees. Iran remains one of Germany's top trading partners in the Middle East, with up to 65% of trade financed by Germany's ECA Hermes.
  • Chinese export credit agencies expand relations with western ECAs

    (SinoFile.net, Beijing, 10 April 2007) German ECA Euler-Hermes continues to expand its business in China, partnering with Sinosure, the country's official export credit insurance agency. Euler Hermes, the world’s premier credit insurance group has a global market share of some 35%, and is part of the Allianz Group. Standard Chartered Bank has also signed an agreement with Sinosure to help support local companies expand overseas as well as aiding international firms entering China.