Index for November 2012

Volume 11, Issue 11

  • (Eurodad, Brussels, 13 Nov 2012) The UK coalition government’s official export credit insurer UK Export Finance has revealed information about the origin of ‘Third World Debts’ owed to the UK for the first time. UK newspapers The Guardian and Metro have raised questions about the use of taxpayer support for export credits to fund repression and violence.
  • Credit insurer Atradius concludes cooperation agreement with Petrobras

    Credit insurer Atradius concluded a cooperation agreement with Petrobras on November 23 in Rio de Janeiro . The Brazilian oil company gets a credit insurance of US $1 billion for purchases in the Netherlands."That allows Dutch companies a lead over competition from other countries. We provide exporters the opportunity to bring along the financing for the sale of products to Petrobras”, according to general director Johan Schrijver after signing [the agreement].The last couple of days there has been intense negotiation about the agreement between Atradius Dutch State Business - the credit insurer of the government - and Petrobras. ,,We wanted to sign that one at the closure of the economic mission and the Prince's visit to Brazil. That added healthy pressure to the talks”, said Schrijver.Petrobras, the largest company of Brazil, now can come to the Netherlands with a substantial shopping list and is ensured beforehand of favourable financial conditions. "This may concern ships, investments in ports, high-tech, you name it”, according to a very pleased Schrijver.Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima were present at the signing, as was Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Minister Lilianne Ploumen. Atradius Dutch State Business insures credits offered by Dutch exporters of capital goods and services to buyers abroad on behalf of the Dutch State. Petrobras has the fourth largest oil and gas reserves in the world.(translation by Both ENDS)This news raises various questions on how such a deal fits other international rules and regulations:
    1. The "lead" provided to Dutch exporters to Petrobras over their competitors in other countries makes one wonder how this would fit the WTO commitments for free trade.
    2. It also raises questions about the status of the OECD Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits. While this 'gentleman's agreement' aims for a level playing field between the various signatories to the Arrangement, this bilateral agreement of one of the signatories seems to undercut this aim. It also sheds a whole new light on official efforts from the OECD-ECG for outreach to non-OECD ECAs - in particular from countries like Brazil - to urge them to join the framework of the Arrangement.
    3. In addition it raises questions how this would fit the EU regulation on ECAs of EU Member States. This bilateral agreement between Atradius DSB and Petrobras clearly does not help in creating a level playing field for exporting companies from countries within the EU.
    4. It also leaves one wondering how this kind of blank cheque for suppliers to a major fossil fuel producer fits the CSR policies that Atradius DSB officially commits itself to.
  • (Ministry of Commerce, Beijing, 29 September 2012) The first Guidance on Social Responsibility of China’s International Project Contracting Industry has been officially released. Prepared by China International Contractors Association under the direction of the Ministry of Commerce, the Guidance is the first standard for voluntary social responsibility of the international project contracting industry.
  • (International Rivers Network, Berkeley, 26 November 2012) Chinese dam builders have come to dominate the world market. Civil society groups have documented serious social and environmental impacts with numerous Chinese dams in Africa, Asia and Latin America. A new guide published by International Rivers explains how NGOs can influence Chinese dam builders and advocate for social and environmental interests.
  • (IDB, Washington, 29 November 2012) The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved as much as $153 million in loans for the establishment of a new equity investment platform for Latin America and the Caribbean in partnership with the Export-Import Bank of China.
  • (Pacific Environment, Doha, 28 November 2012) The Obama Administration is supporting skyrocketing export subsidies for dirty fossil fuels through the United States Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank). The subsidies, revealed in the newly released Ex-Im Bank 2012 Annual Report, are significantly larger than ever before and dwarf the U.S. funds provided for developing countries to address climate change. As United Nations climate negotiations commenced this week, the U.S. State Department claimed nearly $2.3 billion has been provided to developing countries in fast start climate finance. However, the Ex-Im Bank’s fossil fuel financing is 452% higher than this sum. The United States Export-Import Bank financed at least $10.4 billion in fossil fuel projects in 2012.
  • (Gazzetta del Sud, New Delhi, 30 November 2012) Italy's export-credit agency SACE has opened an office in the Indian economic capital Mumbai, the financial and insurance group said on Friday. The office is to act as a hub for the South Asian markets of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. SACE currently has an exposure of around one billion euros on the Indian market.
  • (Ventures Africa, Cape Town, 15 November 2012) In a move to improve trade ties between the continent and Canada, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has been awarded a $30 million (4.8 billion naira) five-year line of credit by Canada’s export credit agency, Export Development Canada. The agreement to the credit line, which would provide finance for African companies procuring Canadian goods and services.
  • (All Africa News, Abuja, 28 November 2012) The Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) says it is partnering with the Export Credit Bank of Turkey to boost the development of the non-oil sector of the economy. According to Roberts Orya, NEXIM bank Managing Director, Nigeria offers great opportunities to Turkish business in terms of investments in the non-oil sectors of its economy, especially in the service sector.