Welcome to ECA Watch

Export credit agences provide government-backed loans, guarantees and insurance to corporations working internationally in some of the most volatile, controversial and damaging industries on the planet.

Shrouded in mystery, ECAs provide financial backing for risky projects that might never otherwise get off the ground. They are a major source of national debt in developing countries.

ECA Watch is a network of NGOs from around the world. We come together to campaign for ECA reform - better transparency, accountability, and respect for environmental standards and human rights.

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What's New for April 2024

"What's New!" is a periodic update to keep you informed of the latest on the ECA Watch website. What's New! features a wide range of materials related to the reform of Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) including NGO publications and releases, news articles, commentaries and announcements about the policies and practices of ECAs and ECA-financed projects world-wide.

If you would like to receive "What's New!" simply add your e-mail to the ECA-Action list at www.eca-watch.org today! Questions?

ECAs continue to favour fossil fuels over clean energy

(Global Trade Review, London, 10 April 2024) Export credit agencies (ECAs) in the world’s largest economies are still pumping billions of dollars more annually into fossil fuels than clean energy projects, fresh data shows, spurring calls for reform within the OECD Arrangement. ECAs in the G20 group of nations provided US$96bn towards fossil fuel projects between 2020 and 2022, finds a report published this week by campaign groups Oil Change International and Friends of the Earth. The US$32bn per year supplied by these institutions represents a 20% drop compared to the US$40.1bn yearly average from 2018 and 2020, figures show, highlighting efforts to reduce fossil fuel exposures. Yet the volume of ECA financing directed towards fossil fuels is still six times larger than that allocated to clean energy, which averaged US$5bn annually during this same period.


EU ECA fossil fuel phase-out tracker reveals Member States are lagging commitment to Paris Agreement goals in export credit policies

(Both Ends, Utrecht, 4 April 2024) The EU ECA fossil fuel phase-out tracker sheds light on the concerning lack of harmony between EU Member States' export credit climate policies. The report was updated on April 17th, following new responses by Member States on their respective policies. Despite increasing global efforts towards sustainability, export credit agencies (ECAs) play a key role in providing loans, guarantees and insurance backed by public budgets to companies from their countries, including polluting industries. At present, ECAs continue to be the world’s largest international public financiers of fossil fuels, sorely misaligned with climate goals. In March 2022, during the French Presidency of the Council of the EU, Member States made a crucial commitment to end public finance through ECAs for fossil fuel energy projects by the end of 2023. Recent findings reveal that half of the 23 EU member states with ECAs are fulfilling their commitments, while the others lag behind. Our findings show that only eight EU Member States, such as Denmark, France and the Netherlands, have fully implemented policies to phase out public support for fossil fuel projects. Conversely, five countries, including Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland and Portugal, have no formal policy but claim not to finance such projects. However, a worrying trend is emerging, with 10 Member States failing to honour their commitments. Some, such as Croatia, the Czech Republic and Greece, have yet to establish a policy to phase out export credit support for fossil fuels. Others, such as Austria and Italy, have published policies that are not in line with climate science and the mandatory 1.5°C pathway.


Public Enemies: Assessing MDB & G20 IFIs energy finance

(Price of Oil, Washington, 9 April 2024) This new report, “Public Enemies: Assessing MDB and G20 international finance institutions’ energy finance” looks at G20 country and MDB traceable international public finance for fossil fuels from 2020-2022 and finds they are still backing at least USD 47 billion per year in oil, gas, and coal projects. The findings reveal that the wealthiest G20 nations are the primary culprits behind continued investments in fossil fuels, with Canada, Korea, and Japan emerging as the worst offenders. The report also highlights where there has been momentum to end international public finance for fossil fuels, finding that if countries keep their existing commitments to end not only coal finance but also oil and gas finance, it would shift $26 billion annually out of fossil fuels by the end of 2024. Download the 38 page Report


JIBC provides US$3.3 billion to harmful Asian LNG projects

(Friends of the Earth Japan, Tokyo, 26 April 2024) From the straits of the Philippines to the coasts of the United States, Japan’s fossil fuel financing is harming the environment, climate, and communities at a time when the world is reeling from the ever-intensifying heat waves, floods, droughts, and typhoons brought by the climate crisis. While the world must phase out fossil fuels, as affirmed by the outcomes of COP28, Japan continues to funnel billions of dollars to liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects through its public institutions like the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). In Southeast Asia alone, JBIC provided USD 3.31 billion to LNG projects that harm communities, derailing the region’s just transition to renewable energy. The Natural Resources Defense Council notes that "Japan stands out as one of the world’s top providers of public finance for gas, and the world’s largest provider of international public finance for LNG export capacity, providing $39.7 billion for projects built from 2012 onwards. Just in the two weeks ahead of Kishida’s meeting with Biden, Japan approved over $2.7 billion in financing for new gas projects, such as the controversial gas field in Australia, Block B gas project in Vietnam, the San Luis Potosi and Salamanca gas plants in Mexico, and financing to import LNG."


How the U.S. Can Still Meet its Global Climate Finance Pledges

(Natural Resources Defense Council, New York, 15 April 2024) In 2021, President Biden committed to increase U.S. international climate finance to over $11.4 billion per year by 2024. Of this, $3 billion per year was committed to investments in adaptation—historically underfunded—as part of the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience. f delivered, this vital funding would spur much-needed emissions reductions in other countries, help the most vulnerable communities who have done the least to contribute to the climate crisis to adapt to its mounting impacts, and protect Americans and people around the world against the physical, economic, and security threats of climate change. It would also reinvigorate U.S. climate leadership, rebuilding trust with developing countries and catching up with other G7 countries who provide much more climate finance relative to their wealth. In mid-March, Congress finally passed the relevant spending bill for Fiscal Year 2024. It contained just $1 billion in dedicated funding for international climate programs. This is the third year in a row that Congress has failed to sufficiently deliver on U.S. international climate finance commitments. Just $1 billion in a spending package totaling $1.59 trillion sends a damaging message to the rest of the world.


China invites Uganda for talks on crude oil pipeline project financing

(Dispatch, Kampala, 5 April 2024) Uganda’s presidency confirmed that China has extended an invitation to Uganda’s Energy minister to visit Beijing for discussions on the country’s $5 billion 1,445-km (898-mile) crude oil pipeline project. This development offers hope for progress in Uganda’s efforts to secure Chinese financing for the pipeline, crucial for kickstarting crude production from oilfields discovered back in 2006. The potential involvement of Chinese funding gains significance as Western banks have refrained from financing the project following pressure from environmentalists, citing concerns over its impact on global carbon emissions. Prior discussions between Uganda and the Chinese export credit agency SINOSURE regarding potential funding for the project had been ongoing. However, several deadlines for concluding these talks had passed without reaching a resolution. Meanwhile, construction activities for the pipeline have commenced, involving the transportation of pipes and other materials to designated sites in both Tanzania and Uganda.


ECAs continue to debate fate of Mozambique LNG project

(Global Trade Review, London, 17 April 2024) Financial backers are continuing to assess whether they should reaffirm their support for a multi-billion-dollar LNG project in Mozambique as operator Total looks to restart work. The project was suspended in 2021 after insurgents known as the Islamic State Mozambique attacked Palma, a town in the northern province of Cabo Delgado. Total declared force majeure and withdrew its staff from the nearby Afungi project site. But earlier this year, the French energy major announced its intention to restart the project, meaning its financial partners are also expected to confirm their commitment. A coalition of 124 civil society groups, including BankTrack and Friends of the Earth, have called on financial backers to reconsider their support of the project and urged them to withdraw their funding due to “the continuation of insurgent attacks and the failure of the Mozambican government and TotalEnergies to tackle the drivers of the conflict”. They also cite “ongoing human rights violations” and “irreversible climate and environmental impacts” as reasons to end support. The project is backed by a range of public and private financial institutions, including eight export credit agencies (ECAs) and 15 commercial banks. The ECAs involved are the Export-Import Bank of the United States (US Exim), UK Export Finance (UKEF), the Export-Import Bank of Thailand, Italy’s Sace, Japan’s Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (Nexi), the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa (ECIC), Atradius DSB of the Netherlands and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).


High-Level EU Conference: 'Net-Zero by 2050: The Role of Export Finance'

(European Commission, Brussels, 25 April 2024) A High-Level Conference 'Net-Zero by 2050: The Role of Export Finance', organised by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Trade, was held on 25 April 2024 at the Thon Hotel (Rue de La Loi 75, 1040 Brussels) and online. This conference (was) an occasion to report on progress made by EU Member States following the Council Conclusion of March 2022 on export credits, which included an 'EU climate pact for export finance'. The web site is closed and no information on conclusions, proceedings or minutes have (yet) been published by the Commission at this time. Speech by Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis at the high-level conference 'Net-Zero by 2050: The Role of Export Finance' Conference agenda from March What's New


Meeting Statement - Heads of G7 ECAs

(SACE, Rome, 19 April 2024) The leaders of official export credit agencies from the G7 nations – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the USA – met on April 16th, in Tokyo, hosted by Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI), to discuss recent business trends and challenges. In the light of the increasing global geopolitical risks, the G7 ECA Heads have reaffirmed their role in protecting and promoting international trade and investment, and have recognised the importance of risk management for ECAs. The G7 ECA Heads recognise the need to enhance resilience to the impacts of climate change and to support businesses in responding to global climate issues. Acknowledging the need for urgency, the G7 ECA Heads agree to continue to proactively engage in a review of climate-related provisions under the framework of the OECD Arrangement and the Common Approaches for Officially Supported Export Credits and Environmental and Social Due Diligence. The G7 ECA Heads acknowledge the important role that ECAs continue to play in supporting their own exports and foreign investments and confirm that now, a variety of roles are expected, including promoting inclusive and sustainable trade and investment in developing countries, emerging markets and more established economies, and contributing to the realization of various policy agendas of their respective governments. In particular the G7 ECA Heads underlined their commitment to supporting Ukraine and reaffirmed their role in mobilizing private sector funds, and to continue this dialogue at the next Ukraine Recovery Conference on 11 June 2024 in Berlin.


U.S. EXIM Bank approves 'Make More in America' initiative to boost manufacturing

(Reuters, Washington, 14 April 2024) The U.S. Export-Import Bank's board on Thursday voted to approve a new tool aimed at boosting U.S. manufacturing, strengthening closing critical supply chain gaps, and supporting American jobs, the U.S. official export credit agency said. The Make More in America initiative will allow companies to tap existing medium- and long-term loans and loan guarantees for export-oriented domestic manufacturing projects as part of President Joe Biden’s push to bolster U.S. supply chains.


Proposed EXIM (Export-Import Bank) Reforms

(JDSUPRA, Sausalito, 16 April 2024) The U.S. Export-Import Bank (EXIM) is among the most impactful government agencies when it comes to helping U.S. companies compete for business internationally, finance domestic manufacturing, and build resilient supply chains. Up until 2019, EXIM policies and products were little changed despite the U.S. economy evolving dramatically away from traditional manufacturing to a technology and services-dominated economy. As a result, EXIM users are calling for EXIM to be more relevant and adaptable to our 21st-century economy. Lawmakers are hearing these calls and becoming more receptive to EXIM reform. For example, in 2019, Congress gave EXIM a mandate to bolster U.S. company competitiveness concerning China. EXIM users applauded. More reforms are under consideration in Washington.


Trafigura bags US$560mn ECA-backed deal to supply gas to Japan

(Global Trade Review, London, 4 April 2024) Global commodity trader Trafigura has secured a US$560mn facility from Japan’s export credit agency and SMBC that will fund the delivery of natural gas to the East Asian country. The transaction, signed on March 27, comprises a US$390mn loan from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) alongside co-financing from SMBC worth approximately US$170mn. The deal, the latest in a spate of export credit agency (ECA)-backed transactions for major commodities traders, will finance the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) into the Japanese market.


REC Ltd Secures Japanese Green Loan from Italy's SACE

(GK Today, India, 27 April 2024) REC Ltd, a Maharatna Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) and leading Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) under the Ministry of Power, Government of India, has successfully availed a green loan of Japanese Yen (JPY) 60.536 billion (approximately Rs 3,200 crore) to finance eligible green projects in India. The green loan facility benefits from an 80% guarantee by SACE under their innovative Push Strategy programme. It makes SACE’s first JPY-denominated loan transaction and first green loan in India. The loan saw participation from banks across Asia, US and Europe, including Crédit Agricole CIB, Bank of America, Citibank, KfW IPEX-Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation as Mandated Lead Arrangers. Credit Agricole CIB is acting as the ECA Coordinator, Green Loan Coordinator, Documentation Bank and Facility Agent.


ECAs & Aviation Finance & Leasing: Global overview

(Lexology, London, 4 April 2024) The outlook for the aviation industry in 2024 is more positive than it has been for some years, despite the significant challenges ahead. To fill the subsequent funding gap, the ECAs (and, indeed, the manufacturers themselves) stepped up to the plate, but are now not needed as much. According to Boeing’s Commercial Aircraft Finance Market Outlook 2023, sources of industry delivery financing for 2022 can be broken down as follows: sale and leaseback:18%; cash:54%; capital markets:9%; bank debt:15%; and export credit:4%. ECA-guaranteed loan products covered only about 4% of new aircraft financings in 2019, substantially down from previous years, principally as a result of the restriction of the operations of UX EX-IM Bank and the European ECAs for several years. By the end of 2021, ECA support had increased to 9% of funding for the industry and nearly 5% cent of Boeing deliveries. Primary ECA financing comes from: Brazil: Brazilian Development Bank – supports Embraer; Canada: Export Development Canada – supports Bombardier and Pratt & Whitney; France: Bpifrance – supports Airbus and ATR; Germany: Euler Hermes – supports Airbus; United Kingdom: UK Export Finance – supports Airbus and Rolls-Royce; and United States: Export–Import Bank of the United States (US EX-IM) – supports Boeing, CFM, IAE, GE and Pratt & Whitney.


Gaza/Red Sea crisis: Export credit availability called to limit impact on Indian exports

(Business Standard, Delhi, 11 April 2024) The Ministry of Finance has written to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) to monitor export credit availability, and insurance premium increases to help Indian exporters deal with trade disruptions in the Red Sea due to Houthi attacks on cargo ships.


International lawyers advise ECA and international lenders in Latin American finance

(Latinvex, Miami, 24 April 2024) Milbank represented a consortium of export credit agencies and international lenders in connection with the $2.5 billion project financing for the $4.5 billion expansion of the Centinela copper mine in Chile and Mexican lending company MNJ Capital on a $500 million secured credit facility; Clifford Chance advised the lenders on a $500 million secured loan to Colombian investment manager Grupo SURA; Cleary Gottlieb represented Mexican glassmaker Vitro in a $100 million term loan with Netherlands-based ING Bank; Simpson Thacher represented Brazilian technology platform Brandlovrs Inc. in connection with an equity investment round led by Brazilian venture capital firm Kaszek and Arnold & Porter advised Canada-based Vela Industries Group in the acquisition of Chile-based fleet management, machine performance, and telematics software and hardware provider Samtech. Norton Rose Fulbright advises lenders on ECA-backed financing for two new LNG-powered ‘Worl​​​d Class​​’ cruise vessels for MSC Cruises.


Geopolitical Tensions might Threaten India's Export Growth, FIEO Urges Government Action

(Business Outlook India, New Delhi, 29 April 2024) Escalating geopolitical tensions may have implications for India's exports in the first quarter of 2024-25 as it is likely to impact global demand, says the Federation of Indian Export Organizations. The global uncertainties caused by continuing war between Russia and Ukraine has impacted India's outbound shipments in 2023-24, which recorded a decline of 3.11% to US$437 billion. Imports too dipped by over 8%  to US$677.24 billion. Re the impact of the Israel-Iran war certain exporters from engineering sector have stated that the demand for goods that are going to the UAE and then to Iran has come down. "If the global situation continues to be like this, it will impact global demand. In the first quarter numbers, the demand slowdown may be visible," FIEO Director General Ajay Sahai said. Further he asked for continuation of interest equalisation scheme which helps exporters from identified sectors and all MSME manufacturer exporters to avail of rupee export credit at competitive rates at a time when the global economy is facing headwinds. Exporters get subsidies under the 'Interest Equalisation Scheme for pre- and post-shipment rupee export credit. "The rates should be enhanced to 3% & 5%" he said. "Due to demand slowdown, offtake of goods will be low so foreign buyers will also take a longer period to make payments. So we require funds for longer period. Exporters also need interest subvention support," Sahai said.


Ukranian ECA helped exporting companies raise UAH 99.8 mln

(Open 4 Business, Kyiv, 20 April 2024) As of April 1, 2024, the Export Credit Agency (ECA) supported Ukrainian exports by UAH 627 million (US$15.8m), which allowed the country’s exporters to attract UAH 99.8 million (US$2.5m) in financing from partner banks in cooperation with the agency, said Taras Kachka, Deputy Minister of Economy and Trade Representative of Ukraine. “Supporting and developing processing companies that export their products to other countries is one of the priorities of the Made in Ukraine state policy."


China denounces U.S. shipbuilding probe as politically motivated 'mistake'

(Yahoo Finance, Washington, 18 April 2024) China late Wednesday called on the United States to end its investigation into its shipbuilding industry, denouncing the probe as a politically motivated "mistake." The official statement from China's Ministry of Commerce was issued hours after U.S. President Joe Biden discussed the investigation during a speech he gave Wednesday at the United Steelworkers headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pa. The unfair practices alleged include policy loans from state-owned banks, equity infusions and debt-for-equity swaps, the provision of steel from state-owned steel producers at below market value, tax preferences, grants and "lavish financing from China's state-owned export credit agencies," among others.


What's New for March 2024

"What's New!" is a periodic update to keep you informed of the latest on the ECA Watch website. What's New! features a wide range of materials related to the reform of Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) including NGO publications and releases, news articles, commentaries and announcements about the policies and practices of ECAs and ECA-financed projects world-wide.

If you would like to receive "What's New!" simply add your e-mail to the ECA-Action list at www.eca-watch.org today! Questions?

Email info-at-eca-watch.org

See all "What's New!" updates since 2005 here

  • Exim Approves $500 Million for Bahrain Oil Project Despite Biden’s Climate Commitments.
  • Fury Over $500 Million US Export-Import Bank Loan to Bahrain 'Climate Bomb'
  • No role for export credits in the EU’s development finance
  • First-of-its-kind EU export credit facility to target Ukraine rebuild
  • European Commission: NET-ZERO BY 2050 THE ROLE OF EXPORT FINANCE
  • US & EU differ over the future of fossil fuel subsidies in OECD talks
  • Human rights & environmental destruction in Dutch Atradius DSB insured dredging projects
  • UKEFsigns cooperation agreement with U.S. Department of Energy Loan Programs Office
  • Total ECA Funders Weigh Mozambique Restart After 3 Year Halt
  • Standard Chartered Faces Complaint for Financing Philippine Coal Plants
  • Oil Trader Gunvor to Pay More Than $660 Million to Resolve Bribe Cases
  • Ineos Receives UKEF Backing for Europe's Largest Petrochemical Plant
  • Dynasty Gold Used Slave Labor in China, Canada Watchdog Says
  • Pentagon pitched EXIM Australian nickel investment
  • Korean ECA to provide $187bn in support to bolster exports
  • EXIM on International Women’s Day 2024
  • Ankura business consultants' turning points for EXIM

Exim Approves $500 Million for Bahrain Oil Project Despite Biden’s Climate Commitments.

(New York times, New York, 14 March 2024) A federal bank that finances projects overseas voted Thursday to put $500 million toward an oil and gas project in Bahrain, a transaction that critics said was out of step with President Biden’s climate commitments. Just days before the vote, six lawmakers had urged the bank, the Export-Import Bank of the United States or ExIm, not to move ahead with the financing, given the project’s negative effects on the climate. “We cannot afford to have ExIm undermine domestic and international climate progress,” lawmakers led by Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon, said in a letter to the bank’s board of directors last week. Similar articles appeared in Bloomberg, Reuters, the Huffington Post, Politico and E&ENews. Pope Francis has described delaying action on fossil fuels as “suicidal”, pointing to oil and gas companies continuing to carry out new projects – despite the International Energy Agency recently reaffirming that no new oil, gas, or coal fields are compatible with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5ºC – as humanity faces the increasingly severe consequences of the climate crisis.


Fury Over $500 Million US Export-Import Bank Loan to Bahrain 'Climate Bomb'

(Common Dreams, Portland, 15 March 2024) Despite a Biden administration pledge to stop backing international fossil fuel projects by 2022, the U.S. Export-Import Bank announced Thursday that it would provide a $500 million loan for oil and gas expansion in Bahrain. The funding marks the fifth time that EXIM has chosen to back a fossil fuel project abroad since President Joe Biden joined the Clean Energy Transition Partnership (CETP) at the United Nations COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in 2021. "EXIM's decision to approve the Bahrain oil and gas project is another alarming step in the wrong direction for climate action, as the bank goes rogue and continues to defy President Biden's promises," Nina Pušic, an export finance climate strategist at Oil Change International, said in a statement, adding that the project was a "huge climate bomb paid for by the American taxpayer."


No role for export credits in the EU’s development finance

(Counter Balance, Brussels, 13 March 2024) The latest report from Counter Balance titled "No role for export credits in the EU’s development finance" sheds light on the growing presence of Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) in the financing landscape of various EU policy proposals, ranging from development finance to critical raw materials. The report examines recent proposals for greater coordination between export credit and development finance, in particular through initiatives such as the EU's Global Gateway strategy. It highlights significant concerns about suitability of such coordination for development objectives, particularly in the absence of binding human rights and environmental standards, ands weak rules on transparency, due diligence and accountability of ECAs as well as Development Finance Institutions (DFIs). Alexandra Gerasimcikova, Head of Policy and Advocacy at Counter Balance, said: "This is another example of the EU's misuse of public development finance to support the European private sector , continuing a well-trodden neo-colonial path in its global South relations. This approach encourages asymmetrical dependencies, where the only concern is to open up new markets for European capital. We need long-term, sustainable financing to support equitable socio-economic transformation globally, not profits of European corporations. ”


First-of-its-kind EU export credit facility to target Ukraine rebuild

(Global Trade Review, London, 25 March 2024) EU officials have revealed that the next phase of a pioneering bloc-wide export credit initiative will target the reconstruction of war-torn Ukraine, an undertaking expected to cost almost half a trillion dollars. The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Trade, last week outlined plans to establish a “complex new policy tool” focused on significant infrastructure projects in the country. Details on how the scheme will operate are still being ironed out, with indications it would operate as a risk-sharing mechanism to support the work of domestic export credit agencies (ECAs). In the past 18 months, European ECAs have collectively pledged hundreds of millions of euros towards Ukraine’s reconstruction, which the World Bank forecasts will cost US$486bn. For the past three years, the Commission has deliberated on plans to establish an export credit strategy, and within this, a pan-EU export credit facility. An independent feasibility study last year concluded the bloc may consider creating a reinsurance function for ECAs.



Organised by the Directorate-General for Trade, European Commission
Thursday, 25 April 2024, Thon Hotel EU, Brussels, with online participation

    • Session one - The Green Transition - Challenges for Export Finance
        ◦ Panel discussion. Representatives of the International Energy Agency, NGOS, business as well as the European Commission will present the context for export credits efforts towards alianment. and will discuss the challenges of the green transition for export finance.
    • Session 2 - National export finance policies: Phasing out fossil fuels and scaling up clean energy
        ◦ Panel discussion. Representatives from ECAs and national governments will discuss approaches they have taken to support the transition to Net Zero by 2050. In Council Conclusions of 15 March 2022, each Member State committed to establishing a national plan to phase out any official support for fossil fuel related projects, while scaling-up clean energy. The panellists will present their national plans and their implementation, followed by a discussion.
    • Session3 - International Cooperation on Export Finance and Climate
        ◦ Panel 3 will assess efforts made at an international level to align the worldwide export credits community with the climate objectives. Two international coalitions of ECAs will present their efforts and be joined by a representative of the European Commission among others.
    • Wrap up & conclusion


US & EU differ over the future of fossil fuel subsidies in OECD talks

(Financial Times, London, 26 March 2024) Second round of discussions ends without significant progress on export credit policies. The world’s richest countries are at odds over ending subsidies for oil and gas development as the US and EU differed over the extent of a ban, according to people familiar with the talks. OECD countries have held a second round of closed-door talks in Paris to debate proposals by the EU and UK to cut off most export credit agency loans and guarantees for oil, gas and coal mining projects, which are the biggest source of international public finance for the sector. This would follow an agreement in 2021 to stop providing such support for coal-fired power. A person familiar with the talks said the US was still assessing the EU’s proposals, with discussions scheduled to continue in June and November. The US Treasury declined to comment. The US, Canada, France, Germany and the UK were among countries that agreed around the UN COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in 2021 to align their public finance institutions with a Paris agreement goal to limit global warming to ideally 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. But this could affect the role of Exim, the US’s credit export agency, which will need to secure fresh funding from the US Congress in 2026, opening it to political scrutiny from Republican lawmakers who are resistant to cutting off finance for oil and gas, and progressive lawmakers critical of the bank’s climate record.


Human rights & environmental destruction in Dutch Atradius DSB insured dredging projects

(Both Ends, Utrecht, 25 March) Over the past 12 years (2012-2023), Dutch export support to dredging companies amounted to €8.4 billion. Dutch-supported projects have been linked to human rights violations and environmental destruction worldwide, revealing the systemic failure of Dutch policies to protect people and the environment. The Dutch government and Dutch dredging companies are not complying with international standards on human rights, biodiversity, and sustainable development. The report examines 12 years of resistance to destructive dredging projects in 7 locations worldwide.


UKEFsigns cooperation agreement with U.S. Department of Energy Loan Programs Office

(UK Government, London, 19 March 2024) UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK’s export credit agency, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the U.S. Department of Energy Loan Programs Office (LPO). The agreement signals UKEF and the LPO’s interest in considering potential new joint financing opportunities for energy and green infrastructure projects.  This is the first-ever MoU between a European export credit agency and LPO, which has closed over $30 billion in financing deals for energy and advanced technology vehicle projects in the last decade. Collaboration and co-financing with UKEF are expected to create new opportunities for British businesses of all sizes – including smaller firms – looking to support US energy and decarbonisation projects.


Total ECA Funders Weigh Mozambique Restart After 3 Year Halt

(Bloomberg, 1 March 2024) Lenders to TotalEnergies SE’s Mozambique liquefied natural gas project are weighing the release of billions of dollars in funding as the company plans to resume construction three years after development was halted by Islamist insurgent attacks. The planned onshore facility designed to export the southern African nation’s major gas discoveries attracted the biggest project financing yet seen in Africa. That was before Islamic State-linked militant attacks near the site in 2021 prompted Total to evacuate its personnel and declare force majeure. The US Export-Import Bank, which committed the biggest share of $4.7 billion in financing — and other lenders that comprise a total of about $15 billion in debt — are conducting assessments on reactivating the funding. The assessment of whether to resume financing coincides with a decision by the Biden administration in January to pause approval of new liquefied natural gas export licenses, in recognition that the climate impact from the fossil fuel needs to be reassessed. The US Eximbank’s loan to the Mozambique project was initially provided in 2020, during the administration of former President Donald Trump. While Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent Europe on a scramble for alternative energy supplies that boosted interest in upcoming LNG production, projects in nations across Africa are still susceptible to a range of issues including political instability and construction delays. Mozambique has the added obstacle of an insurgency that’s become subdued by armed forces, though the Islamist fighters still carry out sporadic deadly raids. Atradius Dutch State Business, the Amsterdam-based Dutch export-credit agency that’s committed $1 billion to Mozambique LNG, said it’s also assessing the situation. “Due diligence is currently ongoing to assess whether we can allow drawdowns under the loan,” it said.


Standard Chartered Faces Complaint for Financing Philippine Coal Plants

(BNN Breaking News, Hong Kong, 29 February 2024) Environmental and human rights organizations have taken a stand against Standard Chartered, filing a complaint with Britain's National Contact Point for Responsible Business Conduct (NCP) over the bank's financial involvement in four coal-fired power plants in the Philippines. These groups, including the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, Inclusive Development International (IDI), Recourse, and BankTrack, assert that the bank's actions have led to detrimental impacts on local communities, including forced evictions, loss of livelihood, and health issues due to pollution. The complaint, lodged with NCP accuses Standard Chartered of failing to perform due diligence that could have prevented the adverse effects experienced by the communities surrounding the coal plants. The NCP, while lacking the authority to enforce action or compensation from Standard Chartered, plays a crucial role in investigating breaches of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Despite the limitations of the NCP's powers, the UK's export credit agency UKEF has indicated that findings from such investigations will influence future decisions on supporting companies and banks involved in financing controversial projects.


Oil Trader Gunvor to Pay More Than $660 Million to Resolve Bribe Cases

(Yahoo Finance, New York, 1 March 2024) Gunvor Group Ltd., one of the world’s top oil traders, will pay more than $660 million to resolve US and Swiss charges that the company paid bribes to Ecuadorian government officials for contracts. The information released by the US is a reminder of the seedy deals made in the not-too-distant-past by some of the biggest firms in commodity trading, which have made billions of dollars in profits on energy market volatility stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic and then the invasion of Ukraine. A shortage of key resources has also seen these companies strengthen ties with governments around the world — just a few months ago, Italy’s export credit agency guaranteed a €400 million ($433 million) loan to Gunvor in return for supplying gas to the country.


Ineos Receives UKEF Backing for Europe's Largest Petrochemical Plant

(ChemAnalyst News, New York, 7 March 2024) In a significant development, the UK government has committed to providing a financial guarantee of EUR 700 million to Ineos, led by billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, for the construction of Project One. This ambitious project is poised to become Europe's largest petrochemical plant in three decades. While financial details emerge, environmental groups are gearing up for a legal battle to halt construction, labelling the plant a potential "carbon bomb" that could escalate emissions and contribute to plastic production and waste. The financial backing from the UK government for Ineos' Project One comes to light amidst growing environmental concerns and impending legal challenges. Detractors of the project view it as a significant contributor to carbon emissions and a catalyst for increased plastic production and subsequent waste. These concerns have prompted environmental groups to prepare for legal action aimed at preventing the construction of the plant.


Dynasty Gold Used Slave Labor in China, Canada Watchdog Says

(Yahoo Finance, New York, 26 March 2024) A Canadian watchdog is calling for penalties against Dynasty Gold Corp. after it concluded the company used forced labor at its Chinese mine, which the miner denies. The Canada Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise, an arm of the federal government that investigates possible human rights abuses by companies, conducted a review of the Hatu mine in the Xinjiang region after a coalition of 28 Canadian organizations filed complaints alleging human rights abuses. Sheri Meyerhoffer, the ombudsman, is calling on Canada’s trade minister to refrain from supporting the company in international disputes and ban it from receiving financial support from Export Development Canada.


Pentagon pitched EXIM Australian nickel investment

(Australian Financial Review, Washington, 8 March 2024) The Pentagon held discussions with Resources Minister Madeleine King about how it could co-invest in an Australian nickel project alongside the Australian government to help mitigate the impact of a glut undermining future critical minerals self-reliance. Ms King met with the under-secretary of defence for acquisition and sustainment, Bill La Plante, at the Pentagon on Thursday (Friday AEDT) to discuss options available following a collapse in the nickel price that has led to the closure and write-down of Australian projects. “The options around collaboration of government financing agencies with those out of America might be EXIM, or under the Defence Production Act,” she said. The Export-Import Bank is the export credit arm of the US federal government.


Korean ECA to provide $187bn in support to bolster exports

(Pulse News, Seoul, 21 March 2024) The Korea Trade Insurance Corp. (K-SURE), an export credit agency, will provide the largest-ever trade insurance and financial support worth 250 trillion won ($187 billion) to achieve the government‘s target of $700 billion in exports this year. According to sources from the government and the trade industry on Wednesday, K-SURE plans to provide a total of 250 trillion won in support for short-term and medium- to long-term export insurance, export credit guarantees, and exchange rate fluctuation insurance this year.


EXIM on International Women’s Day 2024

(Talk Business, Arkansas, 7 March 2024) International Women’s Day provides the opportunity to highlight the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and to address the diverse challenges women face every day. For the last 25 years, EXIM's Minority- and Women-Owned Business division has been hard at work educating U.S. small businesses about the financial services available to help their businesses compete globally. In the last dozen or so years, this small, independent government agency that punches above its weight has provided over financing to about 1,000 women-owned businesses exporting to 150 countries. [Women face unique challenges both in the U.S. and globally, yet the entrepreneurial spirit of woman business owners and leaders remain inspiring, writes former Export–Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) CEO Kimberly Reed.]


Ankura business consultants' turning points for EXIM

(Ankura Consultants, 20 March 2024) The U.S. Export-Import Bank (EXIM) is among the most impactful government agencies when it comes to helping U.S. companies compete for business internationally, finance domestic manufacturing, and build resilient supply chains. Up until 2019, EXIM policies and products were little changed despite the U.S. economy evolving dramatically away from traditional manufacturing to a technology and services-dominated economy. As a result, EXIM users are calling for EXIM to be more relevant and adaptable to our 21st-century economy. Lawmakers are hearing these calls and becoming more receptive to EXIM reform. For example, in 2019, Congress gave EXIM a mandate to bolster U.S. company competitiveness concerning China. EXIM users applauded. More reforms are under consideration in Washington. 

Five Key EXIM Bank Reforms proposed by Ankura in Washington:

  • 1. Revise EXIM’s U.S. Content Policies to Reflect the Modern Global Supply Chain and Export Finance Environment.
  • 2. Codify EXIM’s “Make More in America Initiative” (MMIA)  
  • 3. Raise EXIM’s 2% Statutory Default Limit and Exempt Technology, Nuclear and National Security Related Financings.
  • 4. Modify EXIM’s Underwriting Criterion of “Reasonable Assurance of Repayment.”
  • 5. Repeal or Modify EXIM’s Prohibition of Financing Sales of Defense Articles and Services

What's New for February 2024

"What's New!" is a periodic update to keep you informed of the latest on the ECA Watch website. What's New! features a wide range of materials related to the reform of Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) including NGO publications and releases, news articles, commentaries and announcements about the policies and practices of ECAs and ECA-financed projects world-wide.

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See all "What's New!" updates since 2005 here

  • Joe Biden should end EXIM support for overseas oil and gas projects
  • EXIM Climate Advisors Quit Over Fossil Fuel Plans
  • African Rail Projects Become Battleground For US-China Competition In Strategic Mineral Supply Chains
  • Italian and Japanese ECAs allocate billions for Ukraine
  • ECAs pile in on European battery gigafactories facility
  • Africa’s debt dilemma: The role of ECAs and new strategies
  • SACE plans to back $1.6 billion in debt to Saudi Arabia
  • The real effects of trade financing by ECAs
  • Financing uncertainty clouds South Korean ECA push for massive arms deals
  • Tanzania's Precision Air Faces Legal Action Over $26 Million ATR 42 Debt to EDC
  • India directs ECGC to maintain moratorium on insurance rates for exporters

Joe Biden should end EXIM support for overseas oil and gas projects

(Guardian, London, 14 February 2024) Oil Change International and Friends of the Earth US say the US president must follow his move to restrain fossil fuel expansion at home with similar measures to curb it around the world. We back Bill McKibben’s call for more of the sort of leadership recently shown by President Joe Biden in pausing new liquified natural gas export terminals. Biden has another opportunity to curb the fossil fuel industry’s relentless expansionist agenda and affirm his climate credentials in this election year at an upcoming meeting of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). At Cop26, the UN climate conference in Glasgow in 2021, 34 governments, including the US, pledged to end international public finance for fossil fuels by the end of 2022. Despite this, in the last year alone, the US has provided more than $2.2bn to oil and gas projects around the world via its export credit agency, the US Export-Import Bank, and its development finance institution.


EXIM Climate Advisors Quit Over Fossil Fuel Plans

(New York Times, New York, 5 February 2024) A federal bank that finances projects overseas is set to vote on Thursday on whether to use taxpayer dollars to help drill oil and gas wells in Bahrain, a contentious decision that prompted two of the bank’s climate advisers to resign, according to people with knowledge of their decisions. The two advisers, who sit on an 18-person board that President Biden created to help the bank take climate change into account when making investments, resigned last week after a meeting about the Bahrain project, according to five current and former bank officials. They described mounting frustration among climate advisory board members, who say they are being kept in the dark about upcoming fossil fuel loans and blocked from making recommendations about whether to approve or even modify a particular project. Climatewire also notes that Biden embedded climate advisers into America’s export credit agency to increase scrutiny over its investments, but their work has mostly been stymied by the agency’s continued pursuit of fossil fuel projects. Five people with firsthand knowledge of the climate council’s work at EXIM described a sense of frustration over investments into projects such as oil and gas development in Bahrain and an Indonesian oil refinery that received a $100 million loan.


African Rail Projects Become Battleground For US-China Competition In Strategic Mineral Supply Chains

(Benzinga, DEtroit, 12 February 2024) A U.S. delegation to a major mining conference in South Africa last week included officials from the Treasury and State departments and the chair of EXIM. Mining and building infrastructure on the continent hasn't traditionally been a U.S. government priority but that is changing now that decarbonization of the economy has taken a front seat and Washington has grown worried about China's dominance of supply chains for strategic materials, including cobalt and copper, used in electric vehicles and renewable energy systems powered by wind turbines and solar panels. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia hold more than a 10th of the known copper deposits in the earth's crust. The DRC produces around 70% of the world's cobalt, which is generally a byproduct of copper mining. Most of that cobalt is exported to China, which is by far the world's biggest importer of copper ores and concentrates. So it's no surprise that China has been investing heavily in the African mining and transportation sector. Chinese entities own all or part of most of the producing mines in the DRC. China provided interest-free financing for a railway built in the 1970s linking Zambia's Copperbelt to a port in Tanzania on Africa's east coast. China this week announced a plan to revitalize that railway, providing direct competition to a U.S.-backed rail corridor from the mineral-rich area to Angola on the Atlantic side of the continent. The United States is ramping up its efforts to secure critical metals and in May said it was performing due diligence for a potential financing package to fund and upgrade a rail line from the DRC border to the Lobito Port in Angola on Africa's west coast, expected to greatly reduce the time and cost of trucking copper and cobalt to ports. Canadian company Ivanhoe Mines Ltd is the first mining customer for this Lobito corridor, having this week signed an agreement for the right to transport 120,000-240,000 metric tons a year along the line for five years starting in 2025


Italian and Japanese ECAs allocate billions for Ukraine

(Interfax & UKRANEWS, Kiev, 19 February 2024) The Italian export credit agency SACE will allocate 1.5 billion euros to support trade and financial operations, in particular, in the field of healthcare and infrastructure. Japan's NEXI will allocate EUR 1.3 billion to support Japanese investors in Ukraine consisting of two parts: guarantees for Japanese investors, as well as a credit line for the export of Japanese goods for the implementation of Ukraine's reconstruction projects. The Ukrainian News Agency earlier reported that Ukraine's reconstruction needs already amount to almost USD 486 billion.

ECAs pile in on European battery gigafactories facility

(Global Trade Review, London, 14 February 2024) Three export credit agencies have thrown their support behind a €4.4bn debt raising for a company building lithium battery gigafactories across Europe, the latest in a string of deals intended to beef up the continent’s renewable energy supply chains. France-based Automotive Cells Company (ACC) says Italian export credit agency (ECA) Sace, Germany’s Euler Hermes and France’s bpifrance have all agreed to support financing provided by a pool of commercial lenders.


Africa’s debt dilemma: The role of ECAs and new strategies

(Trade Finance Global, London, 15 February 2024) The African economy has suffered three major shocks in quick succession, namely, the COVID-19 pandemic, spillovers from geopolitical tensions and supply chain disruptions. This, coupled with widening fiscal deficits, exchange rate volatility and natural disasters have eroded the fiscal space of African economies and increased debt levels. The rising debt in Africa and the high risk of sovereign default hampers the activities of export credit agencies (ECAs) on the continent. However, this challenge has also presented opportunities for flexibility, for example, cover for down payments, higher percentages of cover for both political and commercial risks, as well as longer tenors. The continent facing debt issues, continues to be a major playing field for Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa (ECIC SA), with Ghana accounting for 51.4% of total exposure, followed by Zimbabwe and Ethiopia at 23.0% and 7.7%, respectively. From an industry viewpoint, the ECIC portfolio has shifted away from its traditional mining focus. Currently, power generation leads as the top sector, accounting for 45.8% of total exposure, with construction following closely at 40%.


SACE plans to back $1.6 billion in debt to Saudi Arabia

(Reuters, Dubai, 12 February 2024)  Italy’s export credit agency SACE plans to back $1.6 billion in loans to Saudi Arabia over the next 12 to 18 months, the agency’s chief told Reuters, potentially boosting the country's search for outside investment at a time of weak oil prices. Saudi Arabia last month sent requests for proposals to banks for the refinancing of a $10 billion syndicated loan, new bond issuance, and for ECA-backed funding. Saudi Arabia’s national oil giant, Aramco, has also been tapping this form of financing. The company is looking to raise billions of dollars in ECA-backed loans involving agencies across the globe ahead of its planned stock market listing, sources told Reuters last month. SACE, which is meeting prospective clients in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia this week, is evaluating projects in the Middle East and North Africa worth about $15 billion, $5 billion of which in the United Arab Emirates.


The real effects of trade financing by ECAs

(Centre for Econonic Policy Research, London, 9 February 2024) Trade finance subsidies, usually provided by export credit agencies, are the predominant tool of industrial policy. This column discusses the effect of the effective shutdown of the US EXIM from 2015—2019 on firm outcomes. It finds that firms which previously relied on EXIM support saw a 18% drop in sales after the agency closed, driven by a reduction in exports. Firms affected by the shutdown also laid off employees and curtailed investment. Overall, export credit subsidies can boost exports even in countries with well-developed financial markets, without necessarily leading to a misallocation of resources. Exports are often seen as boosting economic growth. But exporting internationally requires upfront financing. Recognising this, around one hundred countries around the world have set up export credit agencies to provide subsidised trade financing to support their country’s exporters. Today, such subsidies are the predominant tool of industrial policy around the world, especially in advanced economies. In absolute terms, China, Germany, Korea, and the US spend the most on these programmes. The Scandinavian countries, as well as China and Korea, are among the heaviest users of export credit agency support relative to their exports as we show in panel B of Figure 1. To better understand the role of export credit agencies, we study the temporary shutdown of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) between 2015 and 2019, prompted by a lapse in its charter—a first since the agency's inception in 1945 – and lack of quorum on its board of directors. The shutdown resulted in an 80% drop in the volume of EXIM-supported transactions in 2016 compared to 2014. The volume of export credit support provided by EXIM only returned to pre-shutdown levels after the resumption of full operations in December 2019.


Financing uncertainty clouds South Korean ECA push for massive arms deals

(Reuters, London, 8 February 2024) Legislation aimed at increasing South Korea's import-export lending to support huge new defence sales has stalled amid partisan deadlock ahead of a divisive parliamentary election, officials and analysts said. South Korea's ruling and opposition parties have both introduced bills to boost the state bank's equity capital to 25 trillion-35 trillion won ($19 billion-$26 billion), raising the lending limit to 10 trillion-14 trillion won, as the country seeks to expedite Poland's $22 billion weapons purchase. The sale is a key part of South Korea's plan to become the world's fourth-largest defence exporter by 2027. But under current law, the Export-Import Bank of Korea cannot lend more than 40% of its roughly 15 trillion won of equity capital, or about 6 trillion won, to a single borrower. The state bank already provided about 6 trillion won in credit during the first phase of the deal with Poland, South Korea's biggest-ever weapons sale. If there is no credit line to finance procurement from South Korea it could put the unsigned procurement of 308 K9 howitzers and 820 K2 Black Panther tanks in jeopardy,


Tanzania's Precision Air Faces Legal Action Over $26 Million ATR 42 Debt to EDC

(Simple Flying, London, 10 February) Tanzania-based regional carrier Precision Air is in a legal battle with Canadia's Export Development Canada (EDC) for an aircraft financing agreement involving two ATR 42-600s acquired over ten years ago. EDC is claiming about $26 million in unpaid rentals and termination fees. The financial agreement between the two parties dates back to 2012, when EDC provided financial assistance to Precision Air to acquire two ATR 42-600s as part of its fleet expansion plan. The agreement involved Irish aircraft leasing firm Antelope Leasing Finance, which acted as the debtor and held the turboprops as collateral on EDC's behalf.


India directs ECGC to maintain moratorium on insurance rates for exporters

(India Times, Gurugram Haryana, 7 February 2024) The Indian government on Wednesday said it has directed the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) to maintain a moratorium on insurance rates for Indian exporters in the wake of the Red Sea crisis. State-owned ECGC is an export promotion organisation, seeking to improve the competitiveness of Indian exports by providing them with credit insurance covers. Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Anupriya Patel said that the ECGC continues to provide insurance coverage to exporters. She said that the corporation has not refused cover for export shipments routed through the Red Sea and the credit risk cover is being provided based on the risk assessment and creditworthiness of overseas buyers and terms of payment.