Index for September 2007

Volume 6, Issue 9

  • (ECA Watch, Paris, 27 September 2007) NGOs have released their analysis of the 150 conditions attached to the export credit guarantees granted by EulerHermes, SERV and OeKB for the Ilisu project. The report finds that: - The project approval process is in breach of World Bank standards - The ToR are vague, unsubstantiated, contradictory and of a poor scientific quality - The project implementation does not comply with the ECAs' own conditions or with the World Bank standards. Despite these violations of the OECD's Common Approaches on the environment and official export credits, the 3 OECD ECAs have approved guarantees for the project.
  • (Both ENDS, Amsterdam, 28 August 2007) The Dutch government is facing sustained problems in managing its export credit risk exposure on Indonesia. The main reason is that in recent years cover has been provided for the export of military navy vessels to Indonesia for a value of more than €1 billion. The cover ceiling for Dutch export credit support to Indonesia is only €1.5 billion. Because of this, many regular Dutch exporters find it hard to get ECA cover for their exports to Indonesia.
  • (Halifax Initiative, Ottawa, 10 September 2007) Export Development Canada (EDC), along with public lenders in the US and Europe, has signaled its interest in supporting the Tenke Fungurume copper mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo, despite the fact that the contract for the project is currently under review by the Congolese government. By signaling their interest in the project before the review is complete, they appear to be prejudging the outcome of the process. EDC has responded noting that it is carefully reviewing the environmental impact assessment documents. In May, the government of the DRC announced its intention to revisit mining contracts signed over the past decade, during the war and under the transitional government in place until last year's national elections. The Congolese review process responds to concerns raised in various audits, independent studies and a DRC parliamentary commission report, regarding the fairness and legality of the contracts.
  • (IRN, Berkeley, 19 September 2007) China Exim Bank adopted an environmental policy in November 2004, and released it to the public in April 2007. Environmental Defense and International Rivers Network, in cooperation with The Corner House (UK), the international ECA Watch network, Friends of the Earth/US, Friends of Nature (China), Green Watershed (China), and Pacific Environment (USA), prepared detailed recommendations regarding how this policy can be strengthened, and submitted them to China Exim Bank on September 10. The recommendations identify generally accepted elements of good practice in environmental assessment, and present illustrative examples of such practice from the policies of other financial institutions from industrialized and developing countries.
  • (IHT, Darmstadt, 20 September 2007) Germany's Economics Ministry has scaled back the export credit guarantees it issues for trade with Iran from $3.3 billion in 2004 to $1.2 billion last year. But German companies still exported $5.7 billion worth of goods to Iran in 2006, up from $5 billion in 2004.
  • The husband of the Philippine president and others have been named in a Senate inquiry into alleged kickbacks tied to a ZTE contract with the Manila government. ZTE's project would be financed at favorable interest rates by The Export-Import Bank of China, although a final contract has yet to be penned.
  • (US Ex-Im Bank, Washington, 27 September 2007). As required by the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act of 2006, Ex-Im has written Congressional committees to note that "In fiscal year 2005, Ex-Im did not finance any dual-use export projects". "According to Ex-Im officials, dual-use items were last financed in 2002, and Ex-Im has not considered any requests for dual-use financing since then. The officials attributed the program's decline to a shift in Ex-Im's portfolio from transactions with governments to private sector transactions."
  • (BNAmericas, Santiago, 24 September 2007) The Brazilian unit of French credit insurer Coface will soon hold 75% of local export credit insurer Seguradora Brasileira de Credito a Exportacao (SBCE), upping its stake from 27.5%. The Government of Brazil holds a 24.2% share in SBCE.
  • (EarthTimes, Washington, 21 September 2007) U.S. renewable energy companies and other producers of environmentally beneficial goods and services can learn more about export opportunities and financing solutions at an environmental exporters conference being sponsored by the Export-Import Bank of the United States.
  • (Guardian, London, 21 September 2007) British ministers are refusing to cooperate with the US criminal investigation into allegations of corruption against BAE, Britain's biggest arms company. In June 2006, ECA Watch asked the OECD's Export Credit Working Group whether the UK's ECGD will be queried about increased due diligence applied to BAE as required under the peer review process envisoned in the OECD's Recommendation to deter bribery in officially supported export credits. To-date we have not even received an acknowledgment of receipt of this letter.