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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 December 2020

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.

  • UKEF to stop funding overseas fossil fuel projects?
  • EU Commission Approves €625 Million Italian Scheme to Counter COVID-19 Impacts
  • EXIM is helping American workers and keeping China at bay
  • Unions oppose EXIM relaxation of domestic content rules
  • Korea's Eximbank provides $500 mil. for Mozambique gas project
  • Too Many Eggs in the Dragon’s Basket? Part Two: Diversifying Australia’s Export Base
  • UK widens access to export loans as post-Brexit transition ends
  • UKEF concerned over ‘largely unused’ export credit facility
  • Ugandans question ECA supported EACOP pipeline vs energy transition
  • UAE, Israel export credit agencies sign trade cooperation deal
  • Ukrainian-UK Defense Cooperation: Will UKEF Have Kyiv’s Back?
  • Massive SACE loan from Italy to Egypt
  • Shipping lenders face carbon cutting shortfalls despite Poseidon Principles
  • Swedish ECAs propose $2-billion credit for aviation development in Vietnam
  • Norwegian Air secures court protection over €4.1bn debts
  • Hungarian & Russian ECAs sign $1.17 billion Egyptian rail deal
  • Russian Export Forum to focus on COVID-driven incentives for businesses
  • China, Japan, and S. Korea see $205 billion renewable energy market in Southeast Asia
  • Crisis response: a paradigm shift for ECAs

UKEF to stop funding overseas fossil fuel projects?

(Sydney Morning Herald, London, 12 December 2020) British taxpayers will stop subsidising overseas fossil fuel projects under a pledge by Prime Minister Boris Johnson which opens a new front in the push for more urgent international action on climate change. Johnson will announce the "world-leading policy" while opening a virtual climate summit on Sunday morning. The plan is yet to be finalised and a start date has not been settled, but Johnson will tell world leaders he will stop the government's export credit agency from providing finance or other support for the extraction, production, transportation and refining of crude oil, natural gas or thermal coal overseas. Green groups have accused the British government of "rank hypocrisy" for talking tough on climate change while still directing billions of pounds towards polluting projects abroad. In June, it promised nearly £900 million ($1.58 billion) in loans and bank guarantees to help build a huge liquefied natural gas project in Mozambique which will open up the country's vast gas reserves. Environmental campaigners are challenging the deal in court on the basis it is incompatible with the UK's Paris climate accord commitments. A third runway at London's Heathrow Airport was blocked by the courts in February because the mega infrastructure project did not take the UK's climate obligations into account. UN secretary-general António Guterres is pushing for all development finance institutions to halt fossil fuel financing ahead of a crucial international climate summit in Glasgow next November. [Meanwhile, as recently as December 2nd, UKEF revealed in response to a parliamentary question that it had been approached regarding finance for Uganda's EACOP pipeline, but that no decision has yet been made. The French, German and Italian ECAs are also reported to have been approached ($). While a welcome advance, we must remember that these measures have been promised for years with little progress to-date.]


EU Commission Approves €625 Million Italian Scheme to Counter COVID-19 Impacts

(Schengenvisainfonews, Prishtina, 7 December 2020) Operators together and travel agencies in Italy affected by the Coronavirus outbreak will receive financial support to get out of the current economic crisis, as the European Union Commission has approved €625 million Italian scheme, under the State aid Temporary Framework. The European Commission concluded that the scheme notified by Italy completes the conditions set out by the Temporary Framework, significantly that aid will not surpass €800,000 per company; and it will be allocated by June 30, 2021. The Temporary Framework provides several types of aid, which can be granted by the Member States. The framework was amended, on April 3, May 8, June 29 as well as October 13, 2020, and includes, among other financial mechanisms, public short-term export credit insurance for all international countries, without the need for the Member State in question to show that the respective country is “non-marketable”.


EXIM is helping American workers and keeping China at bay

(The Hill, Washington, 17 December 2020) [An example of political influences on EXIM vs the OECD's purely economic free market level playing field.] One year ago, under President Trump’s leadership, Congress came together across party lines to re-authorize EXIM, our nation’s export credit agency. As our great economic resurgence continues and American companies battle the setbacks caused by COVID-19, that decision looks even better. American companies and their workers face an unlevel playing field, where countries like China stack the deck. As just one part of the Chinese Communist Party’s multi-faceted Belt and Road initiative to achieve global dominance, its government offers vast amounts of export finance to incentivize foreign companies to purchase Chinese goods and services. The country’s export financing is estimated to equal 90% of what is provided by all G7 countries combined. While the number of export credit agencies like EXIM has grown to 115 around the world, up from 85 only four years ago, China’s expansive export and trade-related activity far exceeds that of other countries. The reauthorization law charges the agency with a goal of reserving no less than 20% of its total financing authority — $27 billion out of $135 billion — for support of U.S. exports to neutralize export credit or other subsidies provided by China or other covered countries.


Unions oppose EXIM relaxation of domestic content rules

(Market Screener, Annecy, 8 December 2020) EXIM, the U.S. export credit agency that is supposed to support U.S. jobs by financing exports of U.S.-made goods, is instead considering extreme proposals to destroy requirements that tie financing to domestic content rules. Under the guise of competition from China, the Bank posted a public notice just before Thanksgiving soliciting comments on weakening its current domestic content requirements. Proposals to weaken the current content rules would allow U.S. exporters to offshore more American jobs to other countries and receive Ex-Im financing to do so.


Korea's Eximbank provides $500 mil. for Mozambique gas project

(Korea Times, Seoul, 14 December 2020) The Export-Import Bank of Korea (Eximbank) said Monday it will provide $500 million (545 billion won) in financial support for a major integrated liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Mozambique. The project financing by the state-run lender is aimed at helping Korean companies successfully complete the construction of two LNG plants. The total value of the project is about $23.5 billion. When the project is finished, about 12.9 million tons of LNG will be produced from the plants annually. This amounts to 23 percent of Korea's annual LNG imports. "We expect the project to create 1,300 new jobs annually and promote foreign exchange earnings," an official from the lender said. The Korean construction and equipment manufacturers taking part in the project plan to invest $550 million in the five-year project. Eximbank also said it expects two Korean shipbuilders ― Hyundai Heavy Industries and Samsung Heavy Industries ― to win orders for 17 LNG ships, though contract negotiations are still underway. This is not the first Korean Exim's project in Mozambique. A group of eight export credit agencies have joined the project across the globe. They include Eximbank, the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and SACE from Italy. The project has exposed workers to Covid-19 and created a natural resource curse in Mozambique where export credit agencies have supported hugh MNC oil and gas developments.


Too Many Eggs in the Dragon’s Basket? Part Two: Diversifying Australia’s Export Base

(Future Directions, Nedlands, 15 December 2020) Since the publication of Part One of this paper, further deterioration in the Australia-China political and trading relationships has occurred, with the media offering useful commentary and analysis of the escalation, including as it relates to exports of wine, barley and coal. Despite serious current issues, Australia’s export reliance on China as a key destination for commodity exports will continue, but concurrent initiatives to broaden and grow the export base have to be pursued. Productivity benefits accrue from exporting, but the primary explanation is economically simplistic, in that countries promote their exports to cover the payments made for imports. Australia needs to continuously import an array of products and services that are not produced domestically but which are vital to sustaining the economy and preserving a high standard of living.


UK widens access to export loans as post-Brexit transition ends

(Reuters, London, 7 December 2020) Britain’s government said on Monday it would offer a wider range of loan guarantees to promote exports as part of a drive to boost overseas sales following the country’s departure from the European Union, its biggest foreign market. Lenders will receive a state guarantee for 80% of the money they lend to companies to support exports, up to 25 million pounds per business. The guarantees will be available to support working capital and other general costs, and will not be tied to specific export contracts, which was usually the case under previous schemes underwritten by export credit body UK Export Finance.


UKEF concerned over ‘largely unused’ export credit facility

(The NEWS, Islamabad, 11 December 2020) The UK on Thursday asked Pakistan to expedite utilisation of 1.5 billion pounds of annual UKEF credit line by facilitating UK businesses investing in and exporting to the South Asian economy. British High Commissioner to Pakistan Christian Turner said £1.5 billion of credit line for export credit facility remains largely unused. “British companies are keen to invest in [sic - invest in, not "sell to"] the energy sector of Pakistan especially in off-grid solutions and distribution, generation system,” Turner said. The UK credit financing for Pakistan has tripled in the last two years. In September, UK Export Finance, a state-owned credit financing agency, increased its annual funding limit to £1.5 billion from £1 billion earlier for British businesses to promote trade with and investment in Pakistan.


Ugandans question ECA supported EACOP pipeline vs energy transition

(Daily Monitor, Kampala, 30 November 2020) In the wake of Covid-19, there is need for governments to ensure a just recovery and transition to low-carbon energy systems for economic and social recovery. Clearly, the government continues to fail Ugandans in-terms of current fossil fuels development plans. Government is still making progress towards development of its 6.5 billion barrels of oil, with plans to build a $3.5b East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP). However, as government seeks to turn oil reserves into tomorrow’s fuels, oil development will certainly further lock us onto the path to irreversible climate change and failure to meet Paris Climate Agreement, goals. Moreover, many oil projects continue to rob locals of their land and livelihoods in violation of their land and other property rights. These are degrading the environment and climate in equal measure,  hence fuelling a triple crisis. Mr. Cyrus Kabaale, Uganda


UAE, Israel export credit agencies sign trade cooperation deal

(Gulf News, Dubai, 13 December 2020) Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI), the UAE Federal export credit company, and The Israel Foreign Trade Risks Insurance Corporation (ASHR’A) have agreed to jointly create a strategic cooperation in supporting exports, trade and investment; explore new business opportunities; and forge collaborations in technical assistance, training, and capacity building in both countries. The annual exchange of trade between the UAE and Israel in a wide spectrum of industries is expected to reach $4 billion (Dh14.68 billion) a year. Under the US promoted UAE-Israel Abraham Accords, the first normalization of relations between an Arab country and Israel since that of Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994, the UAE has abolished Federal Law No. 15 of 1972 regarding the Arab League Boycott of Israel and the penalties thereof. As there are no Emirati embassies in Israel document authentication for company and bank account setup will also be a challenge.


Ukrainian-UK Defense Cooperation: Will UKEF Have Kyiv’s Back?

(Eurasia Daily Monitor, Washington, 15 December 2020) In October 2020 a funding pledge was made by the UK’s export credit agency in the amount of 1.25 billion pounds ($1.68 billion) for the construction of missile boats and new naval infrastructure in Ukraine. Missile boats and naval bases are critically important to Ukraine’s capacity to deter an enemy as well as respond in a crisis in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. These capabilities are crucial to Ukraine in this closed maritime theater considering Russia’s overwhelming superiority when it comes to anti-ship missiles. Moreover, London promised to send Royal Navy ships to the region in order to boost Ukraine’s ability to combat threats in the Black Sea.


Massive SACE loan from Italy to Egypt

(Middle East Eye, London, 11 December 2020) Government sources in Egypt familiar with economic and military cooperation with Italy have revealed that an agreement is imminent between the Egyptian government and the Italian Export Credit Agency (Sace), reported Al Araby Al Jadeed. The agreement would clear the way for Egypt to obtain a loan of more than 5bn euros ($6 bn), which would be financed by a number of Italian and European banks, the news website said. The loan would be disbursed in phases during the current and following fiscal years and used to finance half of the amount required in the Italian-Egyptian arms deal, worth about 11bn euros ($13.3 bn), according to the sources. The sources said that Egypt had previously purchased two Italian multipurpose frigates (FREMM) as part of the deal worth 1.2bn euros ($1.45bn), of which 500m  euros ($605m) were a loan from Italy to the Egyptian Ministry of Defence. The new loan would increase the interest rate by about five percent over the previous one. However, the sources refused to disclose the interest rate that had been agreed upon. Any new deal would impose significant economic burdens on Egypt for about seven years, with the Ministry of Defence paying the largest instalment of the value of these loans, according to the sources.


Shipping lenders face carbon cutting shortfalls despite Poseidon Principles

(Reuters, London, 16 December 2020) Many of the world’s biggest lenders to shipping companies fell short of carbon-cutting targets last year in the first analysis of CO2 goals for the sector. Global shipping accounts for nearly 3% of the world’s CO2 emissions and the industry is under pressure to reduce those emissions and other pollution. About 90% of world trade is transported by sea. Last year, a group of leading banks signed up to environmental commitments known as the Poseidon Principles, whereby financiers take account of efforts to cut CO2 emissions when providing loans to shipping companies. In the first climate assessment report issued by the signatories, which includes emissions data collected from borrowers, just 3 of 15 financiers – Bpifrance Assurance Export, Export Credit Norway and ING – were aligned with IMO decarbonisation targets in 2019. Twenty banks jointly representing approximately USD 150 billion in shipping finance, have come together to commit to the Poseidon Principles, some of them ECAs.


Swedish ECAs propose $2-billion credit for aviation development in Vietnam

(VnExpress International, Hanoi, 6 December 2020) Swedish financial institutions have proposed a commercial loan to develop aviation projects in Vietnam, including the Long Thanh International Airport. The Swedish Export Credit Agency and the state-owned Export Credit Corporation in Sweden have now proposed increasing the credit limit to $2 billion to cover upgrade projects and air traffic management expansion. To be eligible for the credit line, Vietnam will have to use 30% of the loan to purchase Swedish technologies and equipment. In addition to the Long Thanh and Tan Son Nhat airports, Vietnam plans to upgrade other airports. The country currently has 22 civilian airports. They served near 116 million passengers last year, up 12 percent from 2018.


Norwegian Air secures court protection over €4.1bn debts

(Irish Times, Dublin, 7 December 2020) Norwegian Air Shuttle secured a crucial lifeline on Monday when the High Court granted the embattled carrier and five Irish subsidiaries protection from creditors. Norwegian owes creditors, mainly aircraft lessors and banks, more than $5 billion (€4.1 billion) in total, while it faces running out of cash early next year. Its 140 aircraft are held by companies based in Ireland. US aircraft lessor Aviation Capital Group recently got a judgement in the English High Court for $6.3 million for rent due on Boeing 737s.  The Export Import Bank of the United States, which has given export credit guarantees to Boeing, is owed $46 million, while the carrier’s potential liability could run into the hundreds of millions, tied to ten 737s and three 787s.


Hungarian & Russian ECAs sign $1.17 billion Egyptian rail deal

(TXF News, New York, 9 December 2020) Egyptian National Railways (ENR) raised the benchmark for big-ticket export finance collaboration at the end of 2019, after the state-owned company signed a €1 billion ($1.17 billion) dual ECA-backed buyer’s credit facility to back the procurement of 1,300 Transmashholding passenger coaches from the Russian supplier. The more than 15-year financing, which involved three countries and marked the largest project in ENR’s history to date, will be provided between Hungary's HEXIM, the Hungarian Export-Import Bank and the Hungarian Export Credit Insurance that are operating in an integrated manner as the ECA of Hungary, and Russia’s Roseximbank, and the Russian Agency for Export Credit and Investment Insurance (EXIAR).


Russian Export Forum to focus on COVID-driven incentives for businesses

(RT News, Moscow, 7 December 2020) On December 9, the 'Made in Russia’ International Export Forum will hold a roundtable on “Fine-tuning the export support framework: countering the downturn in global trade.” Russian and foreign experts are expected to focus on the current state of global trade, support measures as well as prospects for 2021. It will bring together experts from development institutions and export credit agencies, as well as specialized international organizations to discuss current trends in global trade and key support measures during the ongoing pandemic. The participants will also share their forecasts for the next year.


China, Japan, and S. Korea see $205 billion renewable energy market in Southeast Asia

(Webwire, Tokyo, 15 December 2020) A report from Greenpeace Japan identifies a US$205 billion opportunity for [ECA] renewable energy finance in Southeast Asia in the next ten years – 2.6 times bigger than the coal market of the past decade. From 2009 to 2019, major public banks in China, Japan, and South Korea invested only USD $9.1 billion in solar and wind, but USD $78.9 billion in coal and gas, making them top public financiers of fossil fuels globally. But this started to shift in 2020, as did national climate commitments from these G3 countries. From 2021 to 2030, Southeast Asian demand for electricity will need invested capital worth USD $125.1 billion for solar energy, USD $48.1 billion for wind energy, and USD $32.6 billion for other renewable energy sources, the report found. Additionally, Southeast Asia’s emerging green bonds market is making an international shift away from fossil fuel finance (both public and private). The report provides a rare cross-region snapshot of public and private finance. Despite being an OECD member, China blends official aid and export credit numbers in public financial disclosures in violation of OECD-DAC criteria. This makes public money harder to track. Furthermore, private finance is not widely transparent among the three countries, and analysts rely on third-party data, which is by nature incomplete.


Crisis response: a paradigm shift for ECAs

(Global Trade Review, London, 10 December 2020) When Covid-19 brought global trade to a near standstill, export credit agencies (ECA) stepped up by introducing or expanding cover for working capital programmes, rather than traditional project-led financing. But with the pandemic still raging and concerns over insolvency growing, do companies need to see a paradigm shift in export credit?


What's New November 2020

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?

Public ECA money guarantees 'risky' fossil fuel projects: experts

(AFP, Paris 15 November 2020) Energy firms are undertaking financially risky natural gas extraction projects from the Arctic to Africa made feasible by government-backed loans and guarantees, jeopardising efforts to curb global warming, experts say. As pressure from the public and investors to green their portfolios grows, and the cost of renewable energy continues to fall, oil and gas majors are finding it harder to attract investment on new fossil fuel projects.  Eight export credit agencies awarded loans to French oil giant Total in July, when the company signed a US$14.9-billion financing agreement for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Mozambique. The province where the sites are located, Cabo Delgado, has been grappling with a jihadist insurgency since 2017 that has killed more than 1,000 people. In a renewed effort to reduce climate obstacles and tackle other environmental issues, five African civil society groups have called on African governments to stop the acceptance of fossil fuel projects driven by European countries through their Export Credit Agencies (ECAs).


Western governments suspend talks on new ECA rules

(Reuters, Washington, 20 November 2020) Eleven of 18 governments trying to negotiate new export credit rules said on Thursday they were suspending technical talks because of widely divergent positions among members and troubles with transparency. But in a joint statement, the 11 Western governments including the United States, European Union and Japan said that they remain open to a high-level meeting in a year and to discussing proposals at the vice-ministerial level. The action halts eight years of talks launched in 2012 from a joint U.S.-China initiative to try to craft new international rules on the use of official export credit agencies, that would be followed by OECD countries as well as large emerging market countries including China, India and Brazil.

In 2019, China provided more than three times the amount of official medium- and long-term export credits than the next closest provider, according to the Ex-Im Bank's annual competitiveness report. The top 10 providers, in order, were: China ($33.5 billion), Italy ($11.1 billion), Germany ($10.5 billion), India ($7.0 billion), the United Kingdom ($6.6 billion), France ($6.2 billion), Korea ($5.8 billion), the United States ($5.3 billion), Finland ($4.1 billion), and Sweden ($4.0 billion).


Only a fifth of climate finance goes to adaptation as share of loans grows

(Climate Home News, Kent, 6 November 2020) Donor countries mobilised $78.9 billion of climate aid in 2018, but developing nations are expected to pay back nearly three quarters of the money. Financial support to help the most vulnerable countries adapt to intensifying climate impacts continues to fall short compared with money spent to cut emissions, according to a report by donor countries. Analysis of the latest climate finance data by the OECD - representing 36 of the world’s most developed countries – found that only 21% of climate finance mobilised in 2018 aimed to help communities adapt to climate change vs more than two-thirds of the money still going to carbon-cutting efforts, with 9% identified as serving both goals. The OECD report analysed progress made by developed countries to meet a 2009 commitment to mobilise $100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020 to help developing countries green their economies and cope with climate impacts. The data included finance from bilateral and multilateral finance, climate-related finance officially supported by export credit agencies and private finance mobilised through public finance interventions, with the vast majority of the money coming from public finance, with private funding accounting for 18.5% of 2018's $78.9 billion. Oxfam’s Climate Finance Shadow Report 2020 offers an assessment of progress towards the $100bn goal.


International Chamber of Commerce urges G20 to increase ECA support to safeguard small corporations

(International Chamber of Commerce, Paris, 9 November 2020) An advisory group to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has issued a call for G20 leaders to take action to avert the risk of widespread insolvencies amongst small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) globally, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, urging them to make coordinated interventions to increase the availability of trade-related finance to SMEs. Trade finance underpins somewhere between 80 – 90% of global trade and acts as a vital source of working capital for many SMEs. Recent signals suggest that [private] supply of trade credit to SMEs and emerging markets is at significant risk in response to growing corporate, sovereign and currency risks. ICC has further outlined additional measures that could be implemented by G20 governments to prime the supply of trade financing globally – including a scaling of publicly backed credit guarantee schemes, regulatory interventions and export credit insurance to incentivize the provision of trade credit by commercial banks. As noted in our May 2020 What's New, the ICC has said that as much as US$5 trillion of trade credit will be needed to return trade volumes back to 2019 levels in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis in order to enable volumes and demand return to the global economy.


Mapping the impacts of ECAs active in Africa

(Both Ends, Amsterdam, 11 November 2020) Many industrialised nations are switching to renewable energy at home. But while they commit to phasing out fossil fuel energy domestically, these commitments are abandoned outside their borders, where they continue to push dirty energy, thus contributing to climate change, human rights abuses and environmental destruction. This is happening in African countries, while they are already being hit particularly hard by the impacts of climate change. By supporting fossil fuel as well as large hydro dam-related energy projects in Africa, export credit agencies (ECAs) add to the many risks and threats. In addition, the ECA-supported investments in fossil fuels makes these countries economically dependent on energy sources that many countries in the world are committed to phase out, which poses serious economic debt risks, undermining their long-term resilience. Coming from a perspective of communities affected by ECA-supported energy projects, this report analyses the question what the best solution is for limiting global warming to 1.5C on the one hand, and facilitating universal energy access on the other hand. Furthermore, it analyses the question what the role of public financial institutions like ECAs could be in terms of promoting a green energy future in Africa.


Berne Union Yearbook 2020

(Berne Union, London, November 2020) Vinco David, Secretary General of the Berne Union (the International Union of Credit and Investment Insurers) notes in his introduction to this 179 page yearbook: "Now that news about the impact of and response to the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting the headlines so frequently, we could almost forget that there have also been several other noteworthy developments in the export credit and investment insurance industry. As the global trade association for the industry, the Berne Union is the organisation par excellence where all developments are shared and come together. Credit and investment insurers, and hence the Berne Union, are moving fast in a business environment that is also moving fast. This article will focus on how the Berne Union is changing in this environment. The following developments are highlighted:

  • The enhanced exchange of information between insurers/Berne Union members
  • Closer cooperation between the private market and ECAs
  • Cooperation with stakeholders in the wider industry
  • The growing importance of business data
  • Digitalisation
  • Regulation
  • And, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic"

JBIC to lend Nissan $2B for U.S. sales financing

(Automotive News Europe, Detroit, 26 November 2020) Japan's state-owned export credit agency has agreed to give Nissan up to $2 billion as part of a credit agreement to help it finance car sales in the U.S. The money should help Nissan to sell cars in the world's second-biggest auto market after China by allowing it to provide customers with loans that they can repay in monthly installments. JBIC has provided loans for overseas sales financing to other automakers, including a $78 million October agreement with Honda in Brazil, and one in September for Toyota in South Africa. The latest agreement with Nissan is more than three times as much as a $582 million loan extended by JBIC in July to help Nissan finance car sales in Mexico.


Mexican ECA seals US$600mn credit facility for Covid-19 response

Bancomext, a state-owned bank and export credit agency in Mexico, has obtained a US$600mn credit facility from a syndicate of international banks that will support its response to Covid-19. Law firm Norton Rose Fulbright represented Banco Santander, Citibank and Commerzbank, the three banks that took part in the syndicate. The facility is guaranteed by the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (Miga), a member of the World Bank Group. The facility will support the bank’s funding strategy “amid a sharp contraction in export revenues, which account for nearly 40% of Mexico’s GDP. It will also provide working capital to companies across key exporting sectors of the Mexican economy, including the automotive, aeronautic, transport and logistics, tourism, manufacturing, construction and agriculture industries,” the firm said.


What you need to know about Nigeria’s $1.2bn export loan from Brazil

(Premium Times, Abuja, 9 November 2020) The Nigerian government has announced it plans to obtain a $1.2 billion (N459 billion) loan from Brazil. Funding for the programme will come from the Development Bank of Brazil and Deutsche Bank, with insurance provided by the Brazilian Guarantees and Fund Managements Agency and the Islamic Corporation for Insurance of Export Credit of the Islamic Development Bank, and will be coordinated by the Getúlio Vargas Foundation. The programme will import the completely knocked down parts of about 5,000 tractors and numerous implements (for local assembly) annually for a period of 10 years. The Minister said the Nigerian government would acquire 100,000 hectares of land in each state for food production, adding that link roads would be built in such locations to provide access for farmers to move farm produce to markets and reduce post-harvest losses. On another ECA note, the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) says it is positioning the economy for post crisis performance to be mindful of the fact that fiscal resources are urgently needed to contain the fallout of the COVID-19 outbreak and stimulate the economy. In that regard, the bank is proactively making interventions by way of investment in the manufacturing or production of exportable products – where Nigeria has comparative advantage – with the aim of providing buffer for the economy.


Bombardier cooperating with SFO corruption investigation

(Compliance Week, Boston, 6 November 2020) The U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO) on Thursday confirmed it is investigating plane maker Bombardier over suspected bribery and corruption in relation to contracts and orders from Indonesian airline carrier Garuda Indonesia. According to the allegations, Garuda's former CEO received US$3.2 million in bribery payments from consultants in exchange for securing maintenance and procurement contracts for Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Bombardier, and Avions de Transport Regional. The bribery payments were said to have originated from the commissions received by the consultant from each of these airline manufacturers. The U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO) on Thursday confirmed it is investigating plane maker Bombardier over suspected bribery and corruption in relation to contracts and orders from Indonesian airline carrier Garuda Indonesia. As Compliance Week previously reported, a March 2017 report by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project — a consortium of nonprofit investigative centers and media outlets around the globe — alleged Bombardier Transportation paid “millions of dollars in bribes to unidentified Azerbaijani officials through a shadowy company registered in the United Kingdom. Canada's Export Development Corporation (EDC) first initiated a review of Bombardier in August 2019, following leaked preliminary findings from a World Bank investigation into a 2013 contract Bombardier Transportation had with Azerbaijan Railways. In February 2020, (EDC, Canada’s export credit agency wholly owned by the Government of Canada, concluded in an independent review of Bombardier’s compliance policies and procedures that the company was progressing.


What's New October 2020

"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.

  • ECAs and Green Recovery
  • Africa and ECAs remain at the heart of big oil strategy despite oil export debt
  • UKEF could support 42,000 jobs annually by 2035 by switching focus to renewables
  • EU publishes 4th amendment to Temporary Framework for state aid to corporations re COVID
  • The natural resource curse in Mozambique
  • EXIM President: Battling China's predatory economics
  • FY 2021 Funds Available for Agricultural Export Credit Guarantees
  • S&P declares Zambia in default after missed debt payment
  • ICIEC signs cooperative MoUs with UKEF and CESCE
  • SACE's Michal Ron becomes the new president of Berne Union

ECAs and Green Recovery

(Christian Aid, London, 20 October 2020) This new report warns that post-Covid stimulus packages are in danger of widening global inequality and pushing poorer countries to turn to fossil fuels, which would threaten the success of the UK’s COP26 climate summit. The world stands at a crucial juncture, as nations choose between restarting their economies using fossil fuels, plunging us further into climate crisis, or taking the opportunity to accelerate the transition to a low carbon world which puts us on track to meeting the targets of the Paris climate accord. Governments of richer, OECD countries, including the UK, must cease all new direct and indirect public support for fossil fuels projects in other countries, including the use of aid budgets and export credits. Instead, aid and export credits should be used to scale up renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy access for the poorest.


Africa and ECAs remain at the heart of big oil strategy despite oil export debt

(Energy Intelligence Finance, New York, 30 September 2020) French TNC Total's CEO Patrick Pouyanne has emphasized that Africa will be at the "heart" of the company's long-term energy transition plans. Africa has long been a rich source of cash flow for Total (EIF Feb.19'20). In 2019, the continent generated around $10 billion of Total's $26 billion cash flow from operations, and 30% of its oil and gas production (900,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day). In July, Total and its partners secured $15.8 billion in project financing. The Export-Import Bank of the US and seven other export credit agencies provided loans, guarantees and insurance for Total's Mozambique LNG project alone (EIF Aug.12'20). Meanwhile, the Train 7 expansion of Nigerian LNG is another key African LNG project for Total (EIF Aug.26'20). Train 7, a joint venture between the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and international oil majors Royal Dutch Shell, ENI and Total, will be financed by a combination of NLNG's internally generated cashflows and US$3 billion of debt raised from a broad range of financiers, with the international and Nigerian banks and the DFIs providing US$1.5 billion of debt on an uncovered basis, and the South Korean and Italian ECAs directly funding or covering the remaining US$1.5 billion. An October report from Dutch ECA Atradius notes that the risk of sovereign default is growing across Africa because of higher debt levels and currency risk, with the shock hardest felt in oil exporting countries such as the Republic of the Congo and Angola, where oil accounts for more than 90% of the exporting revenues”.


UKEF could support 42,000 jobs annually by 2035 by switching focus to renewables

(Energy Voice, London, 15 October 2020) The credit export wing of the UK Government could support tens of thousands of jobs in the coming years if it switched its focus from oil and gas to renewables, according to a new study. Research carried out by Vivid Economics, on behalf of the European Climate Foundation, shows that UK Export Finance (UKEF) would create more jobs by supporting clean energy owing to it being a more labour intensive industry. The study claims that, if the ministerial department assumed liabilities for renewables exports to the same scale it currently does for oil and gas, it could support 42,000 jobs in the sector annually by 2035, up from 2,000 today. UKEF came under fire earlier this year after it emerged it pledged $300 million (£230m) to a Total-led LNG project in Mozambique, prompting Boris Johnson to order a review of government guarantees for oil and gas projects. Oil Change International noted that “This report shows that the UK has a clear opportunity to show climate leadership and stop propping up deadly fossil fuels with public money."


EU publishes 4th amendment to Temporary Framework for state aid to corporations re COVID

(Lexology, London, 14 October 2020) The EU Commission has published a 4th amendment to its 19 March 2020 guidance document on state aid in reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak (see our blog post). Article 107(1) of the TFEU contains a general prohibition of aid granted by a Member State or through State resources which distorts competition and trade within the EU by favouring certain companies or the production of certain goods. The Temporary Framework was previously amended on 3 April 2020 (see our blog post), on 8 May 2020 (see our blog post) and on 29 June 2020 (see our blog post).The 4th amendment extends the availability of all the measures set out in the Temporary Framework and it introduces an extension of the temporary removal of all countries from the list of “marketable risk" countries under the Short-term export-credit insurance Communication (STEC). As a consequence of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Commission found in March 2020 that there is a lack of sufficient private insurance capacity for short-term export-credits in general and considered all commercial and political risks associated with exports to the countries listed in the Annex to STEC as temporarily non-marketable until 31 December 2020. TFX further reports that "certain governments have used ECAs as vehicles to help corporates better deal with the crisis, and some of the amounts involved have been substantial. For instance, a $6.9 billion support package for Fiat Chrysler was guaranteed by Italy’s Sace, an $817 million package for South Korea’s Doosan Heavy industries was backed by Kexim and the Korea Development Bank, and in July UKEF guaranteed £500 million ($642 million) of a £625 million loan from commercial banks for Jaguar LandRover."


The natural resource curse in Mozambique

(New Frame, Johannesburg, 20 October 2020) Do transnational fossil fuel corporations promote defence spending over social investment? A long read about a complex situation where export credit agencies have supported hugh MNC oil and gas developments.


EXIM President: Battling China's predatory economics

(Fox News - Opinion, Washington, 17 October 2020) Kimberly Reed: The latest manifestation of China’s economic aggression is the increasing use of export financing to distort fair and free-market competition. In 2019 alone, communist China provided three times the export financing of the next-largest provider. For Beijing, export financing helps increase its influence abroad as well as promote its One Belt, One Road initiative. Chinese official financing in 2019 totaled at least $76 billion all around the world, all of it designed to further Beijing’s global objectives, and much of it targeted to reduce U.S. economic influence. By handing out money around the world at low-interest rates, Beijing is able to advance its strategic objectives. The goal? Global dominance by 2049. If the U.S. is to combat China’s latest form of aggression, we must step up our export financing game. Enter, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM), which can play a central role in leveling the global marketplace for American exporters and supporting American jobs.  launched a new “Program on China and Transformational Exports” to support the extension of loans, guarantees, and insurance to American exporters on terms competitive with the PRC’s. EXIM’s goal is to reserve at least $27 billion in financing to “neutralize” PRC export subsidies and advance the comparative leadership of the United States with respect to the PRC. [How these U.S. "subsidies" fit into the OECD's efforts "to provide a framework for the orderly use of officially supported export credits by fostering a level playing field in order to encourage competition among exporters based on quality and prices of goods and services exported rather than on the most favourable officially supported export credits" is misterious.]


FY 2021 Funds Available for Agricultural Export Credit Guarantees

(USDA, Washington, 5 October 2020) On October 5, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced availability of export credit guarantees for sales of U.S. agricultural commodities under the Commodity Credit Corporation’s (CCC) Export Credit Guarantee Program (GSM-102) for fiscal year 2021. US$2.5 billion will be available in 2021 allocated as follows: Africa, Middle East, Turkey, Caucasus, Central Asia US$425 million, Asia US$475 million, Latin America US$1.6 billion


S&P declares Zambia in default after missed debt payment

(Agence France-Presse, Washington, 22 October 2020) Ratings agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) declared Zambia's government in default on Wednesday, October 21, after the African nation missed an interest payment. The mineral-rich southern African country has seen its debt surge to nearly $12 billion this year as commodity prices have fallen amid the coronavirus pandemic. S&P noted that half the government's debt is owed to official creditors, including export credit agencies, while over $3 billion or 25% "is owed to various Chinese lenders including policy banks – China Exim Bank and China Development Bank – as well as private Chinese banks."


ICIEC signs cooperative MoUs with UKEF and CESCE

(Zawya, Dubai, 4 October 2020) The Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation with the United Kingdom’s Export Credit Agency (UKEF). The MoU allows for both entities to enter into co-insurance, reinsurance or cooperation agreements to engage in strategic joint projects that support exports and investments from the United Kingdom into ICIEC’s 47 member countries including UAE, Oman and Bahrain – all ICIEC member countries.. The partnership is beneficial for both institutions as they each offer Shariah compliant financing through the provision of Islamic Sukuk and share an interest in promoting and supporting Islamic finance transactions. ICIEC has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Spanish ECA CESCE


SACE's Michal Ron becomes the new president of Berne Union

(TXF News, London, 28 October 2020) Last week the Berne Union (BU) also held its annual meeting, on a virtual basis, and Michal Ron, chief international officer of the Italian export credit agency Sace, was voted in as the new BU president. Outgoing president Beatriz Reguero (Cesce) remarked that her term had been characterised by an environment of unprecedented uncertainty, with the Covid pandemic the most visible manifestation of this. Incoming President Michal Ron has expressed her mission for the term is to increase inclusivity and help bridge the gap between export credit insurers from advanced economies and developing economies. She also wants to further promote open dialogue between OECD and non-OECD members, eastern and western hemisphere institutions, private and public operators, contemporaneously providing a wider platform to emerging market members of the BU. During the AGM members also engaged in a virtual ‘stocktake’ of the state of the export credit and investment insurance industry during the Covid pandemic. While claims activity was said to be currently relatively subdued – $3.3 billion paid in 2020 H1, compared to $3.2 billion in 2019 H1 – many members reported a marked increase in payment deferrals and pre-claim situations and most expected to see Covid-related claims levels rising from early next year. BU members flagged particular vulnerabilities in the transportation sector – especially aviation and shipping – as well as retail, construction and product manufacturing. In a BU survey, 80% of members reported an increase in new demand, most commonly for short-term credit and working capital products. Around a third of respondents indicated that this includes a substantial increase in inquiries from new clients. BU data shows that short-term commitments in the first half of 2020 ($1,644 billion) were marginally down year-on-year, but new cover for domestic risks (largely cover for working capital and manufacturing risks) increased almost 50% in the same time, up to $36 billion in the first half of 2020.