Index for September 2022

Volume 21, Issue 9

  • (Oil Change International, Washington, 26 September 2022) the French Government has published a new policy that restricts public finance for fossil fuels from the French export credit agency, BPIFrance. This policy is meant to implement France’s commitment to end international public finance for fossil fuels by the end of 2022, which it made at the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow last year along with 38 other countries and financial institutions (The Glasgow Statement). The French Development Agency (AFD), which is also subject to the Glasgow commitment, had already adopted a near-complete fossil fuel exclusion in 2019. The policy – which will be enacted in law through the French Government’s budget – is a landmark win for French campaigners who have been calling for an end to French export finance for fossil fuel projects for years. In addition, it builds pressure on fellow Glasgow Statement signatories to keep their promise and announce their Glasgow-compliant policies by the upcoming COP27 UN Climate Conference in Egypt. So far, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden and now France have published policies to implement their Glasgow commitment. The new policy implements a commitment made at last year’s UN Climate Conference to end almost all French government-backed financing for international fossil fuel projects, responsible for €9.3bn in public finance for oil and gas between 2009 and 2019

  • (Oil Change International, Washington, 20 September 2022) At the COP26 United Nations Climate Conference in Glasgow, 39 countries and institutions signed up to the Glasgow Statement, committing themselves to ending “new direct public support for the international unabated fossil fuel energy sector by the end of 2022, except in limited and clearly defined circumstances that are consistent with a 1.5°C warming limit and the goals of the Paris Agreement.” The initiative has the potential to shift $39 billion a year out of fossil fuel projects and into clean energy if countries keep their promises. As the deadline for implementing the Statement looms, the Swedish export credit agencies, SEK and EKN, have released an updated policy. A previously-released policy aligned Swedfund – the Swedish development finance institution – with the Glasgow Statement.

  • (Global Trade Review, London, 31 August 2022) Rising geopolitical risk is driving up demand for export credit insurance, says a new Berne Union study, which warns that the market is bracing for a wave of Ukraine-related claims. According to the association’s latest ‘Business Confidence Index’ report, providers of short, as well as medium and long-term credit and political risk insurance, have seen “strong” levels of demand this year. The quarterly analysis, based on a survey of the Berne Union’s more than 80 members – including export credit agencies, private credit insurers and multilateral financial institutions – reveals that requests for short-term cover have been especially robust. “Payment delays directly caused by the war are materialising for some insurers and there is a general expectation that liquidity constraints and higher interest rates will lead to increasing insolvencies in the third quarter,” the report says. In a world where roughly 15% of trade is protected by insurance, eyes are often on the trade credit insurance stage.

  • (Pipa News, Pakistan,7 September 2022) Ukraine has begun attracting foreign investment of up to $400 billion in projects across the economy, even as it faces a protracted war with Russia and a slump in production. The Kiev government has identified hundreds of technology, agribusiness, clean energy, defense, metallurgy and natural resources initiatives that it hopes will attract international investors, backed by loan guarantees and insurance from Western donors. Ukrainian officials recognize that Western investors need protection. They want access to World Bank war risk insurance products and Western export credit institutions to provide guarantees.

  • (Reuters, Washington, 30 August 2022) The head of the EXIM and a senior Ukrainian development minister have pledged to keep working on U.S. financing opportunities to support Ukraine's energy security and infrastructure, the export credit agency said. The meeting between EXIM Chair Reta Jo Lewis and Ukrainian Minister for Communities and Territories Development Oleksiy Chernyshov came exactly a year after EXIM and Ukraine signed a memorandum of understanding to identify $3 billion in EXIM-supported export financing projects for Ukraine, including road, rail and energy infrastructure. In March, less than a month after Russia's invasion started, EXIM and its fellow export credit agencies in Britain and Canada withdrew all new export credit support for Russia and Belarus.

  • TFX, London, 14 September 2022) The most recent edition of US EXIM’s Competitiveness Report makes plain that although US EXIM medium- and long-term support has grown since obtaining a quorum in 2019, much more must be done to advance America’s export competitiveness in an era of volatility and crowded competition. Released at the end of June, there were few surprises in the focus of the 55th edition of US EXIM’s Competitiveness Report – in short, climate change and US exporters facing increased competition from Chinese companies backed by historic levels of their government’s financing. But if the focus was no surprise, the wider scope of the challenges facing US EXIM was. The key point is that China is not US EXIM’s only problem. By not complying with OECD rules China has induced other countries to follow suit, skewing the competitive landscape. Indeed, many European ECAs have extended and developed their pandemic flexibility, offering new and innovative support for domestic and foreign exporters that don’t necessarily meet the terms of the OECD arrangement. As such US EXIM faces considerable challenges facilitating a level playing field.

  • (The Island, Colombo, 9 September 2022) Sri Lanka’s debt to China is making headlines in international and local media again. Media reports partly blame China and its lending practices, for Sri Lanka’s debt crisis, says a Verité Research media release. It said: The publication titled: “The Lure of Chinese Loans: Sri Lanka’s experiment with a special framework to finance its infrastructure” sheds light on the perils of creating frameworks to facilitate deviations from competitive bidding to tap into concessional export credit from emerging economies such as China. The report analyses the design and execution of the special framework and finds that the lack of rigour in the evaluation process and the ability of decision-makers to exercise excessive discretion made the framework highly prone to abuse and misuse.

  • (China Dialogue, London (Beijing?), 22 September 2020) Reform of investment and financing models still needed in order to better support green transitions. On 21 September 2021, China’s president, Xi Jinping, told the UN General Assembly via video link that China would increase support for green and low-carbon energy in developing countries, and not build any new coal-fired power projects overseas. China has been a major builder of coal power plants around the world, often providing both the finance and the technology. The Exim Bank of China, the China Development Bank (CDB) and the China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure) are the main state-owned financial institutions funding overseas projects, and as such have been quick to respond to the change in government policy. Exim Bank has successfully issued 3 billion yuan (US$425 million) in green bonds earmarked for clean energy investment. The Green Belt and Road Initiative Center provides research, analyses and information on the policies, economics, environment, sustainability and green finance of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) - also known as Silk Road Initiative. The Green BRI Center is part of the International Institute for Green Finance (IIGF) of the Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE) in Beijing.

  • (Business News East, Berlin, 2 December 2021) The European Commission on December 1 revealed details of the EU’s €300bn ($340bn) Global Gateway Strategy, a global investment plan hailed as a "true alternative" to China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, or B&R). China has funded railways, roads and ports as BRI projects but it has come under fire from critics who say Beijing leaves some countries weighed down with loans they cannot hope to pay off. A centre-piece of Chinese foreign policy, BRI is accused of spreading “debt-trap diplomacy”. Critics of Global Gateway say in many ways it amounts to a repackaging of cash. As China pushes back against claims of "debt-trap diplomacy", the European Commission thinks it can sell Global Gateway as a "trusted brand".

  • (Tehran Times, Tehran, 10 September 2022) The Export Guarantee Fund of Iran (EGFI) has signed an agreement with the Russian Agency for Export Credit and Investment Insurance (EXIAR) with the aim of facilitating exports and providing the necessary guarantees for the development of trade between the two countries. According to Peyman-Pak of Iran's Trade Promotion Organization,, the agreement is signed with the aim of helping the traders of the two countries to use export insurance as an alternative to letters of credit (LC) and to reduce the risk of trade between the two countries. Emphasizing that the agreement has no credit limit and the signatories can issue guarantees up to one billion dollars, Peyman-Pak said: “This achievement has been made in line with the efforts of Trade Promotion Organization and Export Guarantee Fund of Iran to facilitate trade between the two countries of Iran and Russia.” It is not know if this agreement could include cover for Iran's alledged sale of military drones to Russia.

  • (Fortune India, Gurugram, 15 September 2022) With Europe maintaining trade sanctions on Russia, India has the potential to export $5 billion worth of goods to Russia in the next 12 months, A Shakhtivel, President, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) has said. The export demand is high and supplies can start as soon as the rupee payment mechanism gets operationalised, he added. Russia now accounts for 18% of India’s crude imports; up from 1%  The ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict may open up a $22.5 billion worth export opportunity across 83 commodities for India, says an analysis carried out by MVIRDC World Trade Centre, Mumbai.

  • (Global Trade Review, London, 21 September 2022) Analysts are warning that ports in North America could become overwhelmed by a build-up of empty containers, as trans-Pacific supply chains and transportation times gradually return to pre-pandemic levels. The average time taken to deliver cargo soared to 112 days in February this year, nearly three times the average before Covid-19 struck, according to Denmark-based research and analysis firm Sea-Intelligence. As of late August, the most recent point for which data is available, that figure had dropped to 88 days.

  • (Global Policy Journal, Durham, 23 September 2022) There is no net-zero world without a sustainable trading system, and trade finance is estimated to contribute to between 80–90% of all world trade. The first steps toward green ECAs have been taken, with the agreement announced at COP26 to end export credit support of unabated coal-fired power plants and the first net zero commitments to be made by [some] leading ECAs. In the coming months, there is an opportunity for the broader ECA community to step into the net zero-fold and work with private finance, policy makers, scientists, and civil society to accelerate an orderly and just transition to a net zero global economy. Our world depends on it. [Read the full 6 page report here. However, climate scientists warned in 2021 that the concept of net zero is a dangerous trap, noting that  “Net zero” is the point at which any residual emissions of greenhouse gases are balanced by technologies removing them from the atmosphere. This is a great idea, in principle. Unfortunately, in practice it helps perpetuate a belief in technological salvation and diminishes the sense of urgency surrounding the need to curb emissions now.]

  • (Trade Finance Global, London, 6 September 2022) Trade Finance Global (TFG) has partnered with UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK government’s export credit agency, and Department for International Trade (DIT) to produce the UK Trade & Export Finance Guide. The 60-page guide comes against a backdrop of complex geopolitical circumstances and an ever-changing financial landscape. Exploring recent issues, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit, and the current Russia-Ukraine conflict, this guide aims to paint a clearer picture of how to navigate the current economic status of the industry.

  • (Aju Business Daily, Seoul, 7 September 2022) Korea Eximbank, an official export credit agency in South Korea, will provide a fund of $100 million to SQM, a Chilean supplier of plant nutrients, iodine, lithium and industrial chemicals, to help ensure a stable supply of lithium for domestic battery and cathode material makers. The fund including $55 million in loans and $45 million in guarantees will be used to invest in SQM's development of lithium mines in Australia and the renovation and expansion of production facilities. SQM, one of the world’s biggest lithium producers, should supply lithium worth about $470 million to South Korean companies for 10 years.