Index for February 2011

Volume 10, Issue 2

  • (OneWorld, London, 9 February 2011) The Jubilee Debt Campaign has joined forces with a group of leading NGOs, including Amnesty International UK, WWF, Campaign Against Arms Trade and The Cornerhouse, to demand that the Government urgently introduce developmental safeguards before it embarks on its expansion plan for the Export Credit Guarantee Department.
  • (Europa, Brussels, 23 February 2011) The European Commission has opened in-depth investigations into whether state capital injections granted to Ducroire of Belgium and SACE BT of Italy were in line with EU state aid rules. The Commission will assess whether the state owned export credit agencies acted as normal market economy investors and provided the capital on market terms. 
  • (EU ForestWatch, Brussels, 17 February 2011) The need for both greater transparency and respect for EU objectives and policies on the part of Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) is widely acknowledged. On 1 December 2010, the European Parliament Committee on International Trade (INTA) proposed amendments for a Council decision “on the application of certain guidelines in the field of officially supported export credits.” In January 2011, the Council Export Credit Working Group under the Hungarian Presidency began discussing INTA’s proposal (FW 155).
  • (Huffington Post, Washington, 9 February 2011) Despite the fact that Ex-Im has recently adopted a new Carbon Policy, which is supposed to help the agency reduce its greenhouse gas footprint, Ex-Im is on a fossil fuel binge and latest proposed deal is the Kusile project in South Africa, which includes the construction of one of the world's largest coal plants. At 4,800 megawatts, the Kusile plant, a project of Eskom, South Africa's state-owned power utility, would spew out 36.8 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions each year, according to Eskom's own Environmental Impact Assessment
  • (Wall Street Journal, Brussels, 3 February 2011) A European Commission investigation found Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp., China's largest telecommunications equipment makers, benefit from significant Chinese government support, including "massive" credit lines from state-owned banks and export credit agencies.
  • (Reuters, Beijing, 24 February 2011) A Chinese government study has found that European Union export credit agencies offered large subsidies to telecom firms.A fresh EU-China dispute has erupted over telecoms subsidies as Beijing threatens to bring the case to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
  • (Pleinplus, Amsterdam, 15 February 2011) Minister De Jager (Finance) and deputy minister Bleker (Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation) have today launched the SME export accelerator together with Atradius Dutch State Business. This new government facility aims to promote the export of medium and small-scale companies (SMEs) through the offering of credit insurance. By covering the payment risks SMEs can better win new foreign customers and conquer markets. Atradius Dutch State Business is offering this cover already since 1932 on behalf of the State. SMEs so far only modestly used these insurance possibilities. 
  • (Vanguard Online, Lagos, 28 February 2011) The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has signed a Frame Agreement with HSBC London for a US$100 million multi-currency facility specifically for imports. The multi-currency facility is dedicated to UBA clients in all African countries and can be drawn down in all major currencies including Euro, British Pounds, Japanese Yen or USD. The facility is backed by OECD export credit agencies which ensure that the costs of the transactions are kept to the barest minimum and indeed, cheaper than the traditional sources of funding such imports.