Index for December 2013

Volume 12, Issue 12

  • Three organizations want to enforce access to information regarding documents on export credit guarantees - Human rights assessments not disclosed
    BERLIN, 9 December 2013 – Human rights organizations, Amnesty International Germany, urgewaldand and CounterCurrent have filed a suit against the federal government for the first time.The government had rejected a freedom of information request from the organizations to disclose information on human rights protection in the allocation of export credit guarantees. "The relevant Economics Ministry claims that it takes sufficiently into account the human rights situation on the ground when allocating guarantees. At the same time they refuse to publish the relevant information. "That doesn’t create confidence", says Verena Haan, responsible for business and human rights with Amnesty Germany.
    Through the lawsuit at the Administrative Court of Berlin, the three organizations seek to understand how the Federal Government assesses the human rights impacts of the projects they support. In July 2012, they had requested access to the due diligence reports for a number of projects. They asked, for example, about mining and dam projects and power plants in countries such as Kazakhstan, Mauritania, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey, as well as for projects in Belarus. "In these countries and sectors human rights violations are likely or even regular. Forced resettlement and environmental destruction take place, labour rights or freedom of expression are ignored. We therefore want to know exactly how the companies and the federal government fulfil their human rights duty of care. However, the federal government treats this information like a state secret" criticizes Regine Richter of urgewald.
    The basis of the lawsuit are the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Act, which are supposed to grant free and unfettered access to information held by administrations. In its rejection of the application the Ministry of Economy cited as reasons the protection of intra-governmental consultations, confidentially collected information, international relations and business confidentiality. "We have made ​​clear that our request is limited to the environmental and social part of the due diligence reports and that we are not interested in further sensitive data. The fact that our request is completely rejected, is unacceptable and contradicts the law. Therefore we are now going to court" explained Heike Drillisch of CounterCurrent.
    In 2012 the federal government supported exports and investments of German companies to developing and emerging countries through guarantees worth nearly 30 billion Euro. The Ministry of Economics decides upon guarantees together with the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation and the Foreign Office. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights of 2011 stress export promotion as an area in which highest human rights duty of care should prevail.
  • (Reuters, 10 December 2013, Seattle) - More commercial jet buyers will tap rapidly-expanding capital markets to finance $112 billion of jet sales in 2014 as state-backed export credits become pricier and more politically sensitive, Boeing Co (BA.N) said on Tuesday. Money from government-backed export credit agencies (ECA), once used to pay for the bulk of jet deals, will make up 18 percent of plane financing next year, down from 23 percent in 2013, the U.S. aircraft maker said in an annual forecast.

  • (PR Newswire, 12 December 2013, Washington) The board of directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) has adopted revisions to its environmental procedures and guidelines governing high-carbon intensity projects, claiming this aligns the Bank with President Obama's goal of reducing carbon pollution, while maintaining the Bank's focus on continuing to help create and support American export-related jobs.

  • (International Business Times, 20 December 2013, Washington) Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar Inc., General Electric and Atlas Copco AB, a Swedish industrial holding company, are the latest beneficiaries of credit financing from the U.S. Export-Import Bank. The federal government’s export-promoting agency said Thursday it would extend $694.4 million in loans (backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. taxpayer should the lending go sour) to Australia’s Roy Hill Holdings. The mining giant controlled by Australian heiress Gina Rinehart is trying to shore up $6.2 billion in capital before the end of the year to fund a massive $8.9 billion iron ore project in Pilbara, a mineral-rich region in the arid western part of the country. The announcement came two days after the Korea Export-Import Bank committed $1 billion to one of the world’s largest financing deals to fund a private project.

  • (Zawya, 10 December 2013, Qatar) During the 4th Annual Meeting of the Aman Union Dr. Abdel Rahman El-Tayeb Taha, the Secretary General of the Aman Union, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Islamic Corporation for the insurance of Investment and Export Credit Insurance (ICIEC), and Mr. Abdulaziz Bin Nasser Al-Khalifa, Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Development Bank launched the Aman Union Database... The Database is the first of its kind in the Arab and Islamic region, established for the benefit of national export credit insurance agencies in the region and will enable the Subscribers in the Database to share and purchase credit information reports, credit opinions on entities worldwide and to exchange their underwriting experience on buyers and banks.

  • (, 31 December 2013, Moscow) VTB Bank arranged deals worth more than US$ 4 billion in 2013 as part of a large-scale project to develop its trade and export finance business, thereby increasing the relevant portfolio by over 150%. The project was advanced by new financial solutions for corporate clients, consistent development of relations with foreign financial institutions, priority development of new products and optimisation of the trade and export finance business process... VTB Bank has been working efficiently to optimise and expand cooperation with several Export Credit Agencies, including the Export Insurance Agency of Russia (EXIAR).

  • (International Financing Review, 14 December 2013, London) Standard Chartered has come up with a novel way of transferring the risk of lending to unrated Chinese exporters and importers to the capital markets. The bank has brought two structured financings to the international markets in recent months backed by loans to Chinese entities. Each loan benefits from a Chinese export credit agency guarantee... The most logical candidates for these deals are exporters and importers, which would be eligible for guarantees from credit agencies, such as Sinosure and the Export-Import Bank of China.