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.

Featured publications and stories

What's New December 2019

"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.

  • Controversy over Chinese subsidies for Huawei
  •  US Ex-Im Bank gets seven-year extension
  •  European Parliament asks Member states to end ECA support for fossil fuel projects
  •  Sweden proposes climate and export strategy which includes ban on ECA support for fossil fuel exploration and extraction
  •  Insurers drop coal in droves to “avoid climate breakdown”
  •  Korean ECA to Extend $375 Mil. to Daewoo E&C’s LNG Plant Project in Nigeria
  •  Gaslog LNG carrier announces $1.05 billion ECA backed debt
  •  Saudi Arabia looks for ECA finance to reduce deficits
  • UAE, Egypt to strengthen trade relations via ECA MoU
  •  Central Bank of Egypt launches ECA
  •  JBIC joins $1.3 billion financing for Bangladesh urea industries
  •  Chubb takes stake in ATI to boost African trade

Controversy over Chinese subsidies for Huawei

(Zdnet, York PA, 26 December 2019) Huawei Technologies has lashed out at a Wall Street Journal report that suggests the tech giant's success is fuelled by billions of dollars in financial support from the Chinese government, arguing that its ties are no different from any other "private company" that operates in China. The WSJ article noted that besides subsidies, Huawei since 1998 has received an estimated $16 billion in loans, export credits, and other forms of financing from Chinese banks for itself or its customers. But the WSJ also notes that Huawei’s largest American competitor, Cisco Systems, received $44.5 billion in state and federal subsidies, loans, guarantees, grants and other U.S. assistance since 2000. Further, it notes that Swedish export authorities provided some $10 billion in credit assistance for Sweden’s tech-and-telecom sector as of 2018 and that Finland authorized $30 billion in annual export credit guarantees economywide from 2017. A 2005 study by the UK Secretary of State for Trade and Industry showed that the "opportunity cost" of UK export credits, i.e. government "subsidies", was around US$271 million per annum. This dispute highlights the well known fact that Chinese and official OECD member export credit agency budgets are subsidies which violate the WTO's Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures. The OECD ECA Arrangement creates a WTO loop-hole for OECD ECA subsidies if they meet the OECD's poorly monitored and largely secretive OECD ECA self-monitoring. The Arrangement is a self-professed "Gentlemen's Agreement" designed to restrict a race to the bottom in export subsidies, but is flawed by a lack of transparency. So yes, the Chinese subsidize Huawei just as OECD ECAs subsidize their own exporters. The difference is the US claim of internet security concerns wrt Huawei in their efforts to retain economic superiority in global markets. Google and Facebook's violations of internet privacy and security don't seem to rate the same US concerns.


US Ex-Im Bank gets seven-year extension

(Space News, Washington, 21 December 2019) The year-end spending package President Trump signed into law late December 20 includes a 7 year re-authorization for EXIM, a lending agency that has been largely sidelined as a source of cheap financing for U.S. satellite deals since Congress let Ex-Im’s charter lapse in 2015. The $1.37 trillion omnibus bill, which funds the U.S. government through Sept. 30, 2020, provides Ex-Im its longest authorization period ever, though still shorter than what some lawmakers had sought. The enacted legislation also enables the bank to keep lending in the absence of a full board of directors by allowing other government officials to temporarily fill vacancies in order to maintain a quorum. New rules for Ex-Im Bank state that if the bank lacks a quorum for 120 consecutive days during a president’s term, a temporary board will form consisting of the treasury and commerce secretaries, the U.S. trade representative and the bank’s confirmed board members. That temporary board would remain until at least three board members are confirmed or until the U.S. president’s term expires... Proponents of Ex-Im Bank have in recent years sought to use the export-credit agency as a soft power tool to counter Chinese export credit and, by extension, Chinese influence globally. The legislation directs the bank “to focus on the important economic and national security challenges posed by China,” Kimberly Reed, Ex-Im’s president and chairman, said in a statement on Dec. 20. The board of directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM), included Nicaragua in its Country Limitation Schedule (CLS) Program, which, as of December 23, will stop working with Nicaragua. With this decision, Nicaragua joins the “undesirables club of the EXIM,” which also includes Afghanistan, Bolivia, North Korea, Cuba, Eritrea, Haiti, Iran, Libya, Nauru, Central African Republic, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Venezuela and Yemen.


European Parliament asks Member states to end ECA support for fossil fuel projects

(European Parliament, Brussels, 28 November 2019) The European Parliament resolution of 28 November 2019 on the 2019 UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid stresses that the EU’s budget should be consistent with its international commitments on sustainable development and its mid- and long-term climate and energy targets. Article 54 welcomes the decision taken by the EIB to end financing for most fossil fuel energy projects from the end of 2021 and specifically asks "the Member States to apply the same principle when it comes to export credit guarantees."


Sweden proposes climate and export strategy which includes ban on ECA support for fossil fuel exploration and extraction

(ECA Watch, Ottawa, 30 December 2019) The Swedish government has presented a climate policy action plan with 132 measures to the Riksdag "taking a holistic approach to how emissions will be reduced throughout Swedish society." We have been unable to find an outline of these measures but have been informed that the also recently updated trade and investment strategy includes a ban on export credits for fossil fuel exploration and extraction by 2022 (at latest) including for example, mining and construction machinery, trucks, dump trucks and wheel loaders, drilling equipment, excavators, where the purpose is to use these for the extraction of coal and oil or gas. It also includes fire protection equipment for oil drilling platforms. We hope to be able to provide further information in our next issue.


Insurers drop coal in droves to “avoid climate breakdown”

(Unfriend Coal, London, 2 December 2019) The number of insurers withdrawing cover for coal has more than doubled in 2019 as the industry’s retreat from the sector accelerates and spreads beyond Europe, the Unfriend Coal campaign reveals today in its third annual scorecard on insurance, coal and climate change. Coal exit policies have been announced by 17 of the world’s biggest insurers controlling 46% of the reinsurance market and 9.5% of the primary insurance market. Most refuse to insure new mines and power plants, while industry leaders have ended cover for existing coal projects and the companies that operate them, and adopted similar policies for tar sands. Action has escalated since international NGOs launched the Unfriend Coal campaign in 2017. Insurers have also divested coal from roughly $8.9 trillion of investments – over one-third (37%) of the industry’s global assets. Insuring Coal No More: The 2019 Scorecard on Insurance, Coal and Climate Change is published by 13 civil society organisations from 10 countries. It was launched to an industry audience at the Insurance and Climate Risk conference in London, as the UN Climate Summit commences in Madrid. As of November 2019, at least 111 globally significant financial institutions – including commercial banks, development financiers, insurers, export credit agencies and central banks – had divested from coal or reduced their exposure to the sector in other ways. Yet in July 2019, 2,459 coal plants with a combined capacity of 2,027 gigawatts were in operation, and another 980 with a combined capacity of 925 gigawatts were planned or under construction.


Korean ECA to Extend $375 Mil. to Daewoo E&C’s LNG Plant Project in Nigeria

(Business Korea, Seoul, 23 December 2019) The Korea Export-Import Bank announced on Dec. 22 that it will provide US$375 million in loans to Daewoo Engineering & Construction’s LNG plant project in Nigeria. For the first time as a Korean company, Daewoo E&C won the LNG plant as a prime contractor in September. It will carry out the project on an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) basis. The LNG plant market had been dominated by five or six builders from developed countries including the United States, Japan, and Italy. The project involves building an LNG plant with an annual production capacity of 7.6 million tons and additional facilities for the plant on Bonny Island of southern Nigeria. When the plant is completed, the nation’s LNG production will soar from 22 million tons to 30 million tons annually. Apart from the Korea Export-Import Bank, the Korea Trade Insurance Corp. is considering extending a loan of a similar size. Korean export credit agencies (ECAs) are expected to provide around US$750 million to the project. This project is also the first to be supported through a special account set up by the Korean government to help Korean companies land more overseas orders.


Gaslog LNG carrier announces $1.05 billion ECA backed debt

(Hellenic Shipping News, Cyprus, 17 December 2019) LNG carrier GasLog Ltd. announced that it has signed an Export Credit Agency-backed debt financing of $1.05 billion with twelve international banks for its current newbuilding programme (the “Newbuild Facility”). The Newbuild Facility covers the balance due to the shipyard on delivery and consequently the final instalments of the seven newbuildings are fully funded. Five of these seven newbuildings are scheduled to deliver from the yards into firm multi-year charters in 2020 and the remaining two into firm multi-year charters in 2021. GasLog’s owned fleet consists of 32 vessels, with 25 liquefied natural gas carriers on the water and seven LNG carriers on order. This includes 13 LNG carriers in operation that are owned by its New York-listed unit GasLog Partners.The deal is backed by the Export Import Bank of Korea (“KEXIM”) and the Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (“K-Sure”), who are either directly lending or providing cover for over 60% of the facility. Gaslog's latest tanker acquisition was recently launched at the South Korean Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard.


Saudi Arabia looks for ECA finance to reduce deficits

(Bloomberg, Riyadh, 11 December 2019) Saudi Arabia may tap international debt markets as early as next month as it seeks funding to help bridge its widening budget deficit. In addition to selling bonds the debt office is also looking at alternative options including export credit agency financing. Fahad Al-Saif, head of the Finance Ministry’s debt management office, said “We are now engaged in ECA financing that actually makes sense to be plugged into the portfolio. Also infrastructure finance, project finance -- it depends. There are certain governmental projects that we could finance away from the debt capital markets.”


UAE, Egypt to strengthen trade relations via ECA MoU

(Gulf Today, Dubai, 16 December 2019) UAE and Egypt have agreed to strengthen trade relations and boost bilateral exports between the two countries through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI), the UAE Federal Export Credit company and the Export Credit Guarantee Company of Egypt (ECGE). UAE-Egypt non-oil trade in 2018 amounted to Dhs20.1 billion (US$5.44 B), a 14.6 per cent growth compared to Dhs17.6 billion (US$4.8 B) in 2017 indicating a strong overall strategic partnership between the two countries, according to data released by the UAE Ministry of Economy. Furthermore, the UAE ranks first globally in terms of investments in Egypt with total FDI amounting to Dhs24.3 billion (US$6.6 B) reflecting the activity of 990 Emirati companies that invested in Egypt at the end of 2018. Egypt, on the other hand, ranks 28th globally in terms of investing in the UAE with total FDI valued at Dhs3.3 billion (US$899 M) during the same period.


Central Bank of Egypt launches ECA

(Global Trade Review, London, 11 December 2019) The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has signed off on a new US$600mn export credit risk company in a bid to bolster Egypt’s intra-Africa trade links. The new company, which will be based out of Cairo, will seek to help Egyptian companies win contracts for major projects with African governments, which the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) claims are [could be?] worth US$60bn annually. Trade between Egypt and other African countries is only around 2% of total Egyptian exports.


JBIC joins $1.3 billion financing for Bangladesh urea industries

(The Daily Star, Dhaka, 2 December 2019) The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) has arranged USD1.3 billion financing for Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) to set up its Ghorasal Potash Urea Fertilizer Project (GPUFP). This is the largest financing backed by an Export Credit Agency ever completed in Bangladesh. BCIC has signed loan agreement for $1.3 billion with Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd (MUFG) and HSBC. Of the total credit HSBC will provide $300 million and rest $1 billion will be arranged by JBIC and MUFG.


Chubb takes stake in ATI to boost African trade

(Global Trade Review, London, 11 December 2019) Global insurer Chubb has made a US$10mn equity investment in the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI), becoming the first global property and casualty insurer to invest in the multilateral political risk and credit insurance agency. ATI supports trade and investment in African member state nations by offering complete risk solutions, including credit insurance and political risk products. It currently has 16 African nations and 10 institutional members as shareholders, and claims to support trade and investment in the countries it represents equivalent to between 1 and 2% of their GDP.


What's New November 2019

"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.

  • France targets fracking & flaring with ECA guarantee overhaul
  • UAE running secret prison in French ECA supported LNG facility in Yemen
  • The ECA fossil elephant in the Dutch room
  • 20% of Dominican Republic territory at risk from fossil fuel auction
  • AfDB approves $400m loan for Mozambique LNG facility
  • EU Council to host business and human rights conference
  • Dutch Ship Firm Kept Fees Secret
  • Nigeria's Ajaokuta Steel completion to receive Russian ECA support
  • World Bank warns of Kenyan [ECA] debt distress
  • EU takes Greece off short-term export credit ‘blacklist’
  • UK export credit agency to provide US$303m in support of Formosa II
  • EX-IM signs new co-financing pact with Japanese rival NEXI
  • UK judge rules EDC can proceed with sale of Gupta jet

France targets fracking & flaring with ECA guarantee overhaul

(Reuters, Paris, 5 November 2019)  France is considering halting funding guarantees for energy projects abroad that involve fracking or flaring, according to a finance ministry report. The government aims to make its program of state guarantees for export financing more environmentally friendly and is dropping support for coal projects as a first step. Next year it will also look into stopping export guarantees for oil and gas activities that are banned in France, including fracking and gas flaring, the report submitted to lawmakers states. In the medium term, a ban on state guarantees for developing new foreign oil fields might also be considered.


UAE running secret prison in French ECA supported LNG facility in Yemen

(Sum Of Us, Paris, 7 November 2019) - A report published today by L'Observatoire des armements and SumOfUs in collaboration with Les Amis de la Terre France, documents the militarisation of Total's activities in Yemen since the 1980s. Open sources and witness testimony reveal that Total’s gas liquefaction site at Balhaf has been set up as a military base (since 2009) and a secret prison (2017-2018). The report also questions the role of the French government, which was involved in the militarisation of the site, and is the guarantor of Total’s Yemen LNG gas liquefaction project. French export subsidies are currently being discussed in the Assemblée nationale as part of the 2020 Finance Bill. Le Monde reports that Total has received official French export credit guarantees totaling 216 million Euros. Le Monde has drawn information from testimonies collected by Amnesty International, as well as a group of UN experts on Yemen, as well as non-governmental organizations and Yemeni activists who confirmed the existence of the prison inside a military base set up by the UAE in the same place. These reports draw on several accounts of arbitrary detention and inhuman and degrading treatment – such as torture and denial of medical care – by Emirati soldiers.


The ECA fossil elephant in the Dutch room

(Both Ends, Amsterdam, 17 November 2019) This report shows that the Dutch Export Credit Agency ADSB insured fossil fuel-related projects with a total insured value of € 10.8 billion in the period 2012-2018. This is more than 60% of its total insured value for that period and € 1.5 billion a year on average. The policy incoherence  thus created by the Dutch government nullifies the Dutch contributions to international climate ambitions. The Dutch government indicates that it will end all financial support to coal projects and exploration and development of new oil and gas fields abroad from its foreign trade and development cooperation instruments as of 2020. Unfortunately, this commitment is not applied to the export credit facility, which supports the by far largest volume of fossil fuel related business transactions abroad. By not applying the same principles to its public export credit support, the Dutch government undermines its own foreign climate ambitions. This report calls upon the Dutch government to align the policies of its Export Credit Agency  with the Paris climate goals. Furhtermore, it provides suggestions for possible ways to go about it.


20% of Dominican Republic territory at risk from fossil fuel auction

(Bank Track, Nijmegen, 26 November 26, 2019) Ahead of the November 27 auctioning of exploration licenses for 14 onshore and offshore oil and gas blocks in the Dominican Republic, environmental groups warned financiers not to back companies which may end up being awarded licenses. Dominican NGO CNLCC, Italy's Re:Common and BankTrack have raised concerns over the major climate risks and adverse environmental and social impacts which would result from the opening up of fossil fuel blocks in the country’s Cibao, Enriquillo, Azua, and San Pedro basins which together cover more than 20 percent of Dominican territory. A major corruption scandal has plagued the Dominican Republic involving the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, which received the Punta Catalina coal-fired power plant contract due to an opaque, allegedly criminal tendering process. European banks were compelled in 2018 to freeze their project finance disbursements.


AfDB approves $400m loan for Mozambique LNG facility

(Hydrocarbons Technology, London, 27 November 2019) The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a $400m loan to support construction of the integrated liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant and liquefaction facility in Mozambique. The Mozambique LNG Area 1 Project is led by the French corporation Total. Other partners in the project are Mitsui, Oil India, ONGC Videsh, Bharat Petroleum, PTT Exploration, and Mozambique’s national oil and gas company ENH. NGOs have provided overwhelming evidence that Mozambique's LNG projects will emit at least 5.2 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, causing climate chaos,


EU Council to host business and human rights conference

(European Council, Brussels, 28 November 2019) The Finnish Presidency of the European Council is hosting a conference on 2 December on business and human rights. The agenda includes a panel on "Promoting Human Rights Due Diligence through State Financing", noting that "A critical way for states to incentivise businesses to respect human rights is through the provision of public financing for private sector investments abroad through development finance, export credit and other forms of support. This discussion will explore the importance of leadership by individual state-based financial institutions and by government in this area.


Dutch Ship Firm Kept Fees Secret

(Bahamas Tribune, Nassau, 12 November 2019) The Dutch company that supplied nine Royal Bahamas Defence Force vessels, Damen Shipyard Group, misrepresented to the Dutch government how much it paid a foreign intermediary that worked on the project. The World Bank disbarred Damen for 18 months in 2016 for failing to disclose an agent and the amount of commissions due to the agent. The Dutch government then temporarily suspended Damen from accessing its export credit insurance. Dutch Secretary of Finance Wopke Hoekstra said ADSB subsequently conducted an investigation and found 14 cases where Damen gave “insufficient or incorrect information in respect of paid agency commissions.” Damen’s project with The Bahamas was one of these cases. Dutch investigators believe Damen paid 12 percent of its contract with the Bahamian government to NSG Management & Technical Services Ltd as commissions. It is not clear what NSG’s work on the project involved. Dutch investigators are said to be examining whether Damen allegedly bribed foreign officials in multiple jurisdictions through their foreign agents. NSG is said to be at the centre of its inquiry.


Nigeria's Ajaokuta Steel completion to receive Russian ECA support

(Nairametrisc, Lagos, 2 November 2019) Recent reports are that the completion of Nigeria's long-abandoned Ajaokuta Steel Complex would be funded by the Russia's MetProm Group with funding from the Russian Export Centre.  Nairametrics understands that although massive plants and other gigantic equipment in the complex were idle and most had been overgrown with weeds, most of the facilities were still functional, and as such over the years, the problems facing the company had not prevented the workers from receiving salaries. The Ajaokuta Steel Complex was originally built by another Russian firm, TyazhPromExport (TPE), but in 2016 the Federal Government decided to jettison TPE because the company did not want to complete the steel mill. A rail line and functional seaport are still needed to ease the operation of the steel mill.


World Bank warns of Kenyan [ECA] debt distress

(Daily Nation, Nairobi, 31 October 2019) In its Kenya Economic Update for October 2019, to be released today, the World Bank notes that, “with 43% of domestic debt expected to mature within a year, the government could face challenges in rolling over such bonds in an environment of no interest rate caps, low subscription rates and over-exposure of commercial banks to these assets”. Signs of distress in paying debt came to the surface last month after it emerged that Kenya had defaulted on a Sh500 million (US$4.9m) debt owed to a Belgian export credit company for the construction of a water supply system in Mavoko. Credendo Export Credit Agency, an export credit agency of the Kingdom of Belgium, had written to the Treasury demanding the payment by November 1, accusing the government of failing to pay despite repeated reminders. As at 30th September 2019, the Star reported that most of Kenya’s bilateral debt is on concessional terms with no interest chargeable on Sh4.2 billion and an interest rate of just 2.08 per cent on Sh660.5 billion from Exim Bank of China (which constituted 74 per cent of total bilateral debt and got the relic like railway trains chugging along).


EU takes Greece off short-term export credit ‘blacklist’

(Greek City Times, Sydney, 27 November 2019) The European Commission on Tuesday announced its decision to return Greece to the list of “marketable risk” countries for short-term export credit insurance, following the successful completion of its fiscal adjustment program in August 2018 and the continuing implementation of reforms. The European Commission said its decision will be activated on January 1, 2020, and will mean that “short-term export credit risks towards Greece will be considered as marketable to be covered by private insurers.”


UK export credit agency to provide US$303m in support of Formosa II

(Renewables Now, Fresno, 5 November 2019) The UK’s export credit agency, UK Export Finance (UKEF), will provide a TWD-9.2-billion (US$303m/EUR 272m) project finance guarantee to support the construction of the 376-MW Formosa II offshore wind project in Taiwanese waters. UK companies will be involved in constucting the Formosa 2 offshore windfarm, helping to unlock the export potential of this growing sector of the UK economy.


EX-IM signs new co-financing pact with Japanese rival NEXI

Politico, Washington, 5 November 2019) EXIM has signed an agreement with Japan’s export credit agency, NEXI, that allows either agency to act as the lead on co-financing projects. Under the previous co-financing agreement, only Ex-Im could act as the lead. The expanded scope is expected to facilitate greater business opportunities for exporters of both nations, Ex-Im said. The new arrangement makes it “possible for Japanese companies to collaborate with American companies in infrastructure projects” in the Indo-Pacific region, NEXI Chairman and CEO Atsuo Kuroda said in a statement.


UK judge rules EDC can proceed with sale of Gupta jet

(Corporate Jet Investor, London, 21 November 2019) A judge in the UK courts has ruled that the sale of Global 6000 ZS-OAK can now go ahead, after Export Development Canada (EDC) settled its litigation with Westdawn Investments. Westdawn Investments is a South African company that is owned by the Gupta family, the wealthy Indian-born South African family with interests in computing, media, and mining and whose members who are under investigation for misappropriation of large amounts of state assets have fled the country. They have refused to return to face court hearings and to participate in criminal investigations. According to EDC, it ended its business relationship with Westdawn Investments in December 2017, after Westdawn Investments defaulted on its loan in October 2017. EDC’s statement notes that in the months and years following its decision to provide Westdawn Investments with the loan, allegations that the Gupta family had been involved in corruption and political interference in South Africa arose.


What's New October 2019

"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.

  • Climate activists spray UKEF with fake blood
  • Newt Gingrich: EXIM as a political tool against China
  • Putin is resetting Russia’s Africa agenda to counter the US and China
  • SINOSURE reports steady business growth
  • Irish businesses 'will need €1.5bn' to prevent job losses if there is a no-deal Brexit
  • Australia drops in defence export rankings
  • Korea should stop funding coal power in Indonesia
  • What is the remit of the ICC Global Export Finance Committee
  • EXIM provides loan for natural gas project in Mozambique
  • EXIM signs MoU with Iraq
  • Why finance and insurance is a key barrier to SMEs that want to export

Climate activists spray UKEF with fake blood

(Fox43 / CNN, Harrisburg, 4 October 2019) Environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion used a fire engine to spray 1,800 liters of fake blood at Britain’s finance ministry in London on Thursday, in protest over what it says is the UK’s contradictory stance on tackling climate change. “The protest is being held to highlight the inconsistency between the UK Government’s insistence that the UK is a world leader in tackling climate breakdown, while pouring vast sums of money into fossil exploration and carbon-intensive projects.”  Among the activists was 83-year-old grandfather Phil Kingston who said he came to the Treasury “to demand radical change,” in particular to the proposal that the UK Export Finance (UKEF), a government body that helps British businesses trade globally, works towards zero emissions by 2050, which he says is “far too late.” A report published by the UK Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee  in June found UK Export Finance (UKEF) – a government body that underwrites loans and insurance to help British firms secure business abroad – had spent £2.6bn in the last five years supporting global energy exports. Of this, £2.5bn went on fossil fuel projects, with the vast majority in low- and middle-income countries.


Newt Gingrich: EXIM as a political tool against China

(Newsweek, Washington, 21 October 2019) Newt Gingrich - Opinion (How the Republican right sees EXIM): In the age of Huawei, the Belt and Road Initiative, and China's state-sponsored companies, we need the U.S. Export-Import (EXIM) Bank more than ever. The EXIM Bank, an independent agency, provides government-backed financing for those looking to export goods and services from the United States. Since the 1930s, it has helped grow the U.S. economy and foil unfairly aggressive foreign competitors. However, due mostly to recent politics, it hasn't been fully functioning since 2014. This needs to change - for many reasons. First, according to Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe, the country's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is absolutely a part of its military plans... This is a big deal. According to EXIM Bank reports, the BRI system includes about 30 percent of the world's gross domestic product and impacts more than 66 percent of the world's population.


Putin is resetting Russia’s Africa agenda to counter the US and China

(Quartz Africa, New York, 22 October 2019) The first-ever Russia-Africa summit will be held from Oct. 23-24 in Sochi, Russia, marking the culminating point of the return of Russia to Africa, with more than 50 African leaders and 3,000 delegates invited. This convening is only another illustration of the recent increase in  economic, security, and political-diplomatic engagements to foster Russia-Africa relations. Over the last decade there has been a proliferation of Russia-Africa bilateral committees, economic forums, and conferences for economic coordination. In 2011, the Russian Agency on Insurance of Export Credit Investments (EXIAR) was created in order to facilitate Russian companies’ activities and the protection of investments. Russia has boosted its initiative to strengthen ties with the African continent, signing a number of agreements and memorandum of understandings (MoUs) to collaborate on various rail projects during the Russia-Africa economic forum in Sochi on October 23-24. In other news, the CEO of the Russian Agency for Export Credit and Investment Insurance (EXIAR), Nikita Gusakov, said that Russia was seeking to benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, noting that the main challenge was to attract Russian companies to Africa. The AfCFTA hopes to encourage a movement from commodity exports to exportation of finished goods.


SINOSURE reports steady business growth

(Xinhua, Beijing, 27 October 2019) China's only policy-oriented insurer specializing in export credit insurance reported steady business growth in the first three quarters of this year. China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation, also known as SINOSURE, had served over 110,000 clients, increasing 13.8% year on year, and underwritten over US$450 billion worth of business from Jan. to Sept. In that period, over US$99.2 billion was insured for business in countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Meanwhile, the company's insurance for business in emerging markets and exports from small and micro enterprises respectively stood at US$179.6 billion and US$49.9 billion U.S. dollars. An assessment report released by the Development Research Center of the State Council and SINOSURE showed that over US$150 billion of China's exports and investment in Belt and Road countries were insured by the company in 2018, surging 15.8% from the previous year. It was estimated that over US$640 billion of China's exports last year were underwritten by SINOSURE, accounting for 25.9% of the total exports.


Irish businesses 'will need €1.5bn' to prevent job losses if there is a no-deal Brexit

(The Journal,Dublin, 7 October 2019) State aid worth €1.5 billion over the next three years will be needed to stabilise the economy and protect jobs if the UK crashes out of the European Union without a deal at the end of the month, the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC) has warned. The organisation said that, to help companies diversify, a new scheme for export credit insurance aimed at companies impacted by Brexit who want to diversify away from the UK, should also be introduced.


Australia drops in defence export rankings

(Australian Defense Magazine, Canberra, 3 October 2019) New figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the world’s leading authority on global military spending, show that Australia has become the world’s second largest weapons importer but has dropped to 25th in the export rankings. Australia previously ranked as the fourth-largest importer and 18th largest exporter. It now imports more military equipment than any other country bar Saudi Arabia and exports less than Belarus, the Czech Republic and Norway. The export drop comes in spite of the government’s push to make Australia one of the world’s top ten largest military exporters. The news of the export drop comes in spite of the government’s push to make Australia one of the world’s top ten largest military exporters. The Defence Export Strategy, announced in early 2018, includes a $3.8 billion Defence Export Facility administered by Australia’s export credit agency and a $20 million per annum re-allocation of funds within Defence.


Korea should stop funding coal power in Indonesia

(Korea Herald, Seoul, 7 October 2019) While South Korea has vowed to phase out fossil fuels and turn to clean energy to combat climate change and air pollution, it is supporting coal-fired power plants elsewhere - like in Indonesia. The government is virtually contributing to environmental damage as well as corruption in Indonesia by financially supporting Korean companies that are building coal-fired power plants there, according to an environmental activist. “The land has been contaminated so much that we cannot plant fruits anymore. The seawater is also severely contaminated, so the number of fish in the sea has plummeted. We have to go a long distance to catch fish,” said Meiki Wemly Paendong, executive director of West Java at WALHI, an environmental organization in Indonesia. “The pollution levels have worsened, with many locals contracting respiratory diseases,” he said. “Local residents (living near the coal-fired power plant) feel that the plant is ruining everything.” Building of the 1,000-MW Cirebon 2 coal-fired power plant in West Java, Indonesia, began in 2016, with Export-Import Bank of Korea providing a 600 billion won (US$515 million) loan for the project. The construction is set to be completed in 2022. Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission has already questioned some 140 people linked to the corruption allegations as part of a sweeping investigation of the Cirebon project. Over the last decade, Korea has invested a combined 11.6 trillion won (US$10 billion) in 24 coal plant-building projects in seven countries through state-run banks, including the Export-Import Bank of Korea, the Korea Development Bank and Korea Trade Insurance Corp. While the Indonesian government is considering suspending at least half of the plants in the wake of worsening environmental pollution, Korea plans to fund the construction of two more 2,000-MW coal power plants -- Jawa-9 and Jawa-10 -- in Suralaya, Indonesia.


What is the remit of the ICC Global Export Finance Committee

(Global Trade Review, London, 29 October 2019) The International Chamber of Commerce Global Export Finance Committee is part of the ICC Banking Commission and was set up in 2015 with the remit of serving as a globally representative body for banks active in export finance. We believe it’s the only industry body representing banks active in export finance on a global basis. Currently there are 16 member banks and we are keen to grow membership further. In terms of market representation, members currently include eight of the top 10 global banks in export finance and over 60% of market volume (based on the Dealogic 2018 league tables). The committee was formed as a reaction to the perceived need for a common approach for banks active in the export finance on regulatory matters and broad market changes. It had its origins in the efforts to add export finance to the ICC Trade Register (the global industry database of default and recovery rates for trade and export finance). As the Trade Register discussions for export finance evolved, it became clear that there was space in the market for a broad, global platform for banks active in export credit agency (ECA) finance to engage in discussion, advocacy and stakeholder engagement.


EXIM provides loan for natural gas project in Mozambique

(MACAUHUB, Macau, 30 September 2019) Despite overwhelming evidence that the proect will emit at least 5.2 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, causing climate chaos, the US Export and Import Bank has approved a US$5 billion loan to support the export of domestic goods and services for the various phases of construction and development of the integrated liquefied natural gas project in northern Mozambique. Outlining the economic benefits to the USA, the EXIM statement issued in Washington said that this loan will support an estimated 16,400 jobs over the five-year period of the construction of the two natural gas processing plants and additional supplier facilities in the states of Texas, New York. York, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, and the District of Columbia. The bank added that granting this loan would represent US$600 million in revenue to the US Treasury, including fees and interest charged to the borrower, the Mozambique LNG1 Financing Company Ltd. This company, which is owned by a group of sponsors, previously included the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation group, acquired in August by US group Occidental Petroleum Corporation.


EXIM signs MoU with Iraq

(MENAFN, Amman, 19 October 2019) The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Finance of the government of Iraq aimed at rebuilding Iraq and enhancing trade and economic cooperation between the two countries. The MOU replaces the previous agreement signed in Kuwait in February 2018 and increases the total amount of EXIM financing potentially available under the MOU from $3 billion up to a total of $5 billion.


Why finance and insurance is a key barrier to SMEs that want to export

(Telegraph, London, 23 October 2019) New research shows that many SMEs in the UK want to explore opportunities overseas, but are put off by the potential payment issues. More UK small businesses would happily export across the globe if they had the correct finance in place, and felt protected against late payments. This is the key takeaway from research by Capital Economics for UK Export Finance (UKEF), the government’s export credit agency set up to support companies that want to sell their products and services overseas.