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 March 2022

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!

Export credits face Russia sanctions AND the Paris Agreement

(ECA Watch, Ottawa, 29 March 2022) As governments struggle to find fossil fuel supplies to offset dependence on imports from Russia, and transnational oil firms reap huge profits from higher oil prices and look for more through new projects and pipelines, and families around the world face not only higher gas prices to fill the family car or local buses but also higher food costs driven by dependence on fossil fuel dependent agriculture and manufacturing chains, Export Credit Agencies confront the big contradictions between pressures to not finance global warming and Western political expectations of livestyles and infrastructures dependent on fossil fuels. This month's What's New looks at ECA cuts to fossil fuel projects and ECA support for Russian projects and the war in Ukraine. Requests for ECA investments in Mozambique and East African pipelines face African demands instead for renewable energy projects and rejection of African complicity in looming global warming. For years ECA Watch has documented the billions of ECA investments in fossil fuels. One investment industry source estimates that the cumulative total volume of sustainable export finance deals in the five years to the end of 2021 was [only] $109 billion across 353 deals. They noted that about 20% of export finance deals ($28.6 Billion) through 2021 were classified as sustainable, i.e. 80%, or $143 billion, weren't. And on top of that, the European Securities and Marketing Authority (ESMA) has warned that the definition of sustainable export finance (for example measurement of CO2 emissions) can be subject to greenwashing. In fact one commercial research company in February removed 1,200 so called environment, social and governance (ESG) funds, with a combined $1.4 trillion in assets, from its European sustainable investment lists, after tightening its criteria on ESG tagging, as it believed those funds were not delivering on their stated ESG [Environmental, Social and (Corporate) Governance] goals. The slack monitoring of the "gentlemans' agreement" of the OECD "common approaches" definitions and environmental standards for official ECAs is well known, with the result that pressures are mounting for the Councel of the European Union to act to enforce ECA compliance with the Paris Agreement, since the OECD "disciplines have not been sufficiently modernized" and the OECD Arrangement is "not keeping up with the pace demanded by both changing economic and climate environments".

ECAs slam the door on Russia

(Global Trade Review, London, 9 March 2022) Export credit agencies and trade credit insurers have hurriedly axed coverage for Russia and Belarus as the deepening conflict and western sanctions interrupt trade and major projects. At least 10 ECAs have stopped or limited coverage for the two countries since late February, when Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine. Many ECAs have also suspended coverage of Ukraine. ECA exposures to Russia range from the relatively modest A$3mn of Export Finance Australia to the substantial €1.7bn on the books of Austria’s OeKB. Other exposures disclosed to GTR or in annual reports include €1bn for Finnvera, Finland’s ECA; US$453mn for Sweden’s EKN; US$428mn for the US Export-Import Bank (US Exim); and €170mn for Poland’s Kuke. ECAs which may have significant exposures but did not respond to questions or publicly disclose exposures include those in France, Italy, Japan and Spain. UK Export Finance (UKEF) has £49.9mn in remaining exposure to buyers in Russia. UKEF declined to respond on the record but GTR understands the agency’s total exposure relating to Russia is just over £100mn.


European Council conclusions on official export credits

(European Council, Brussels, 15 March 2022) The Council's conclusion underlines that officially supported export credits are key levers in order to achieve priority policy goals for the European Union and its Member States. Such goals include the building of a strong industrial Europe, while ensuring the transition to low greenhouse gas emissions. Officially supported export credits are essential for Europe's global industrial competitiveness as they support European companies in competing for contracts and projects overseas, thereby providing jobs and growth, including for Small and Medium Enterprises, across EU Member States. Officially supported export credits originated by EU Member States are highly regulated, notably by the OECD Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits and EU Regulation No. 1233/201. They note that "these disciplines have not been sufficiently modernized, given the evolution of global value chains and the international competition from non-OECD countries". They further note "that even though there has been increased progress in the negotiations on the OECD Arrangement, they are still not keeping up with the pace demanded by both changing economic and climate environments". While acknowledging "the need to adapt export credit policies accordingly, in an effort to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels", the Council conclusions focus on the goal of a "global level playing field and the modernisation of the OECD Arrangement" with a view to ensuring that "officially supported export credits are essential for Europe's global industrial competitiveness as they support European companies in competing for contracts and projects overseas". ECA Watch notes that this EU position on ending public support for fossil fuels fails to do exactly that. See our statement issued on March 15th.


Berne Union Launches New Climate Working Group (CWG)

(Berne Union, London, 17 March 2022) The group leverages the Berne Union network to connect innovation in export credit with global problem-solving around climate challenges and sustainable development. The ultimate objective of the Climate Working Group is to accelerate climate action in the export credit, trade finance and political risk insurance industries by fostering innovation and promoting alignment around low-carbon transition. The CWG is chaired by EDC's Leah Gilbert Morris, and administrated by the Berne Union Secretariat. Institutions leading the work of the CWG include: AGENCE FRANÇAISE DE DÉVELOPPEMENT (AFD); AFRICAN TRADE INSURANCE AGENCY (ATI); AXA XL; BPIFRANCE; DZ BANK; EDC CANADA; EKN SWEDEN; INVESTEC; MIGA (WORLD BANK); UK EXPORT FINANCE; US DEVELOPMENT FINANCE CORPORATION. [It will be interesting to see whether this is just another greenwashing initiative. Some 1200 supposedly ESG compliant funds with a combined $1.4 trillion in assets were recently dropped by commercial research company Morningstar from its European sustainable investment ratings, which presumably follow EU Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulations (SFDR). EDC's role as Chair of the CWG would seem compromised by EDC's portfolio, which provided more public finance for fossil fuels than any G20 country other than China between 2016 and 2018, with EDC providing on average $13.8 billion in support to oil and gas companies each year.]


EDC targets growing demand for ESG financing

(Globe & Mail, Toronto, 28 March 2022) Canada’s export credit agency is looking to capitalize on the growing trend for sustainable investing, launching a set of new financial tools aimed at supporting socially oriented businesses and helping large greenhouse gas emitters reduce their carbon footprint. Export Development Canada has issued green bonds since 2014, using the proceeds to invest in public transportation and renewable energy projects. [We have pointed out in other articles in this month's What's New that EDC provided more public finance for fossil fuels than any G20 country other than China, on average $13.8 billion in support to oil and gas companies each year between 2016 and 2018. So they have a long way to go to offset their fossil fuel vs sustainability imbalance.]


EDC backed loan to primarily Russian-owned Buhler Industries

(CBC, Winnipeg, 9 March 2022) In December 2020 Export Development Canada — a federal Crown credit corporation — signed a guarantee to back half of a $14-million loan to Winnipeg's 97% Russian owned Buhler Industries to support the company's ongoing operations. The manufacturer of farming equipment, including Versatile tractors, has been under scrutiny since Konstantin Babkin, who resigned as a Buhler director on March 2, made at least two public statements in support of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Babkin leads the Action Party, a Russian political party that has supported Russian President Vladimir Putin. On Feb. 21, Babkin tweeted out the party's support of Putin's decision "to recognize the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics" in Ukraine. Buhler Industries has repeatedly denounced Russia's attack on Ukraine. Babkin's resignation did not impact his ownership stake in Buhler Industries, which is 97% owned by Combine Factory Rostselmash. That company is a subsidiary of Novoe Sodrugestvo CJSC, a Russian conglomerate co-owned by Babkin, current Buhler director Dmitry Udras and Buhler CEO Yury Ryazanov. EDC has not purrsued business related to Russian contracts or Russian borrowers since 2014, when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula, Buhler Industries says pulling out of the loan could have a huge impact on Canadian workers, farm equipment dealers and farmers who count on the company for spare parts.


Indian Exporters Find Themselves Caught In Russia/Ukraine Crossfire

(Bloomberg Quint, New Delhi, 1 March 2022) Even before the harshest of sanctions ⁠hit, trouble had started to build for those in India doing business with Russia. On Friday evening, two days after Russia began attacking sites in Ukraine, Rakesh Shah, director at Nipha Exports in Kolkata, received an email from the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India stating that export credit guarantees for exports to Russia would now be approved only on a case-by-case basis and not as freely as it was before. This was done to account for the rising risk in the region, the government said in a release while clarifying that the cover has not been completely withdrawn. On Tuesday, Reuters reported that India's largest bank State Bank of India has stopped transactions with Russian entities under sanctions to avoid being in breach of them. Nipha Exports has €1,00,000 worth of material to be shipped to Russia and unfulfilled orders worth €3,00,000 up to May this year. With impediments to trade rising, how quickly it will be able to resume shipments and get payments is anybody’s guess.


Korea Wins US Export Ban Exemption, Shores Up Exporters to Russia

(Asia Financial, London & Hong Kong, 4 March 2022) South Korea said on Friday that it had won an exemption from expanded US export restrictions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, Seoul’s trade ministry said on Friday. The exemption means Korean companies won’t have to secure licences from Washington for exports using US technology before they can be shipped to Russia. The US rule, part of Washington’s sanctions on Moscow, was feared to affect major South Korean exporters, as they make heavy use of US technology and software. The move followed meetings between Yeo Han-koo, South Korea’s trade minister, and senior US officials in Washington on Thursday. Seoul unveiled a list of measures to help companies with export records to Russia or Ukraine in the previous year. They include export credit guarantees and short-term export insurance.


Pressure on Japan's energy ties in Russia ratchets up with Shell's Sakhalin exit

(S&P Global, Tokyo, 1 March 2022) Pressure is mounting for Japanese companies to review their energy business connections with Russia in the wake of Shell's withdrawal from the Sakhalin 2 project, which accounts for close to 9% of Japan's LNG imports, industry sources said. Shell's Feb. 28 announcement that it was withdrawing from its partnerships with Russian energy giant Gazprom, including the Sakhalin 2 crude oil and LNG project in the Russian Far East, in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Jogmec provides an equity financing and loan guarantee to Japan Arctic LNG, a subsidiary of Mitsui, which has a 10% stake in the Arctic LNG 2 project. NEXI provides export credit insurance and export credit guarantees for Japanese companies' energy businesses including LNG in Russia.


ECIC Growing Its Footprint In Ethiopia and the DRC

(Forbes Africa, Johannesburg, 4 March 2022) The Export Credit Insurance Corporation (ECIC) provides political and commercial risk insurance cover to South African exporters of goods and services and to cross border investors. Its strategic focus is on emerging markets in Africa and outside the continent that are considered too risky for conventional insurers. Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are amongst the largest economies in Africa and are therefore key markets for South African exporters and the ECIC.  The ongoing civil war, which started in November 2019, created a highly uncertain environment in Ethiopia. The recent release of opposition political party officials from prison by the central government is a significant step towards a resolution of the civil war. Investments into Ethiopia for which ECIC was involved include a US$12,5 million in a cement plant by South Africa’s Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC) and a USD121,5m by Vodacom South Africa in 2021. ECIC provided political risk insurance cover for both investments. The DRC is endowed with exceptional mineral resources including cobalt and copper, significant arable land, and huge hydropower potential. This continues to attract significant investment into the country making it the third largest recipient of foreign direct investment in Sub Saharan Africa. The ECIC supported projects in various sectors of DRC including mining, transport, food, and construction sectors. South Africa can supply capital, skills, machinery, and consumer goods to help the country reach its development potential.


SACE freezes loan for Russian Arctic LNG 2 plant

(Reuters, Rome, 1 March 2022) Russia's invasion of Ukraine has prompted Italy to put on hold its share of financing for the $21 billion Arctic LNG 2 project led by privately-owned Russian gas producer Novatek (NVTK.MM), two sources close to the matter told Reuters on Tuesday. Italian state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) and the Russian arm of Italy's biggest bank Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MI) had agreed in recent weeks to help finance Novatek's project. The loan was set to be guaranteed by SACE, Italy's export credit agency, which has already insured nearly 5 billion euros worth of projects and investments relating to Russia. SACE also notes that it is temporarily suspending the evaluation and acceptance of new risks for export credit activities in Russia and in Belarus.


Judges split over UKEF funding of Mozambique gas project

(Drill or Drop, London, 15 March 2022) Two judges have disagreed in what could be a landmark case over whether the UK government acted lawfully in approving $1.15bn financing for a liquified natural gas (LNG) project in Mozambique. The case at the High Court, brought by Friends of the Earth, examined the decision to fund the scheme through the export credit agency, UK Export Finance (UKEF), approved by the Treasury and the Department for International Trade. The judges’ split decision means the judicial review has not yet succeeded and a court order is awaited with the final result. Friends of the Earth said today it was likely to appeal if the judicial review was refused. The case, which tested compliance with the Paris Agreement, centred on the failure to assess the project’s total climate impact by taking into account emissions produced from the end-use of the gas, known as scope 3. This is thought to be the first time a judge has argued that to be consistent with the Paris Agreement all finance flows must be shown to be in line with the international ambition to limit temperature rise to 1.5C.


Korean ECAs sued to stop deep-sea oil pipeline

(BBC, London, 23 March 2022) Tiwi Islands and Larrakia Traditional Owners in Australia’s Northern Territory and youth activists in South Korea have taken the South Korean government to court to stop it from financing Santos and SK E&S’ offshore deep sea Barossa gas project. The legal challenge could prevent the South Korean Government from lending some $AU964 million (US$722m) to the $4.7 billion Barossa gas project via its export credit agencies, the Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) and the Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (K-SURE), putting the financial viability of the entire project at risk. The Traditional Owners argue they have not been consulted about the project - which threatens their sea country and way of life - and therefore have not been given the opportunity to give their free, prior and informed consent for it to proceed. Plans for the gas project include a 300km-long pipeline to be built through their sea country, an area under their legal jurisdiction. Traditional Owners fear impacts to cultural sites, turtles and other marine life that are central to their culture and the local ecotourism industry. Energy giant Santos is pushing ahead with development for the major new gas field off the coast of Darwin, in what it says is the biggest investment in Australia's oil and gas industry in almost a decade.


What's New February 2022

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.

  • Paris Agreement alignment of EDC (NOT!)
  • Germany suspends Russian export credit guarantees
  • Indian exporters hold back shipments to CIS
  • Ukraine: TFX Trade Risk Briefing - What might be the impact of sanctions?
  • EXIM's first Black leader faces challenges on China, climate, equity
  • Total’s East African crude oil pipeline ‘struggling’ to find financiers
  • AfCFTA Secretariat, Afreximbank Seal Deal on $10bn Fund to Boost African Economies
  • AfreximBank Trade Centre Harare project to start soon
  • Sustainability in export finance – the push for change
  • Italy clears hurdle to buy SACE in $4.8 bln deal
  • Building a bank for entrepreneurs is crucial, says CEO of Bpifrance
  • Canada Bangladesh FTA negotiations with EDC role?
  • Africa's Fossil-fuel Investment Trap

Paris Agreement alignment of EDC (NOT!)

(Perspectives Climate Group, Freiburg, 15 February 2022) Perspectives Climate Group has launched a new 41 page report which finds that despite commitments made at and after COP26, Export Development Canada's activities are not aligned with the Paris Agreement's 1.5 degree objective. In total, the  exposure  of  EDC’s  portfolio to carbon-intensive activities stood at 26% – equalling a total exposure of about USD$16 billion – by the end of 2020.  Support for ‘cleantech’ activities, the Canadian label for climate- or sustainability-related activities, was small compared to fossil fuel-related support standing at about USD 2.33 billion per year. Total portfolio exposure is not reported for ‘cleantech’ and a definition of ‘cleantech’ based on a positive list of activities does not exist. Currently, negative emission technologies like carbon capture and storage (CCS) are eligible for the cleantech definition. While there are reasons to justify CCS in some cases, we deem it as misleading to classify them as ‘cleantech’ because they can lead to prolonging fossil fuel infrastructure lifetime and to spurring fossil fuel demand. EDC's  official  exclusion  policy  for  fossil  fuels  only  applies  to  thermal  coal, not mettalurgical coal, another high-carbon intensive and important Canadian export good. Limiting temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels requires massively re-directing financial flows away from carbon-intensive activities and towards low-carbon activities. However, despite commitments made under Article 2.1(c) of the Paris Agreement ... many countries still provide significant financial support to fossil fuel value chains, among others, through their export credit agencies (ECAs). Canada's National Observer notes that EDC needs to clean up its act on climate.


Germany suspends Russian export credit guarantees

(Wall Street Journal, Berlin, 25 February 2022) Berlin has stopped the approval of export credit and investment guarantees for Russia, the Economy Ministry said. With the so-called Hermes cover credit export guarantees, the German government protects companies against the insolvency of foreign customers. Germany issued such guarantees for trade with Russia to the tune of 1.49 billion euros, equivalent to $1.67 billion, in 2021, the ministry said. The instrument has been in use since 1949. ECA Watch Italian member ReCommon has asked SACE to clarify its position given its EUR 4.3 billion exposure in Russia. Numberous other international sanctions have been imposed on Russa.


Indian exporters hold back shipments to CIS

(Deccan Chronicle, Secunderabad, 28 February 2022) The Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) [of India] has decided to withdraw coverage for shipments to Russia with effect from February 25. ECGC in a communication had said: "based on the near-term commercial outlook, it has been decided to modify the country risk classification of Russia under the short-term and medium-and-long term with effect from February 25." Indian exporters to Russia and CIS countries face uncertainty over goods worth $500 million due to the withdrawal of credit guarantee cover on items bound for the region, sanctions on Russian banks and feared disruptions at ports in the Baltic region.


Ukraine: TFX Trade Risk Briefing - What might be the impact of sanctions?

(TFX News, London, 25 February 2022) In a 20 minute TFX video, Rebecca Harding, CEO of Coriolis Technologies discusses the practical impact of sanctions on commodity trade and oil and gas prices,  the shift surrounding Nord Stream 2, second the involvement of international payments mechanisms, specifically SWIFT in the fast-moving situation and third the potentials for rebalancing trade power relationships – specifically around Russia’s relationship with China and a pivot from East West to East East – and its limitations.


EXIM's first Black leader faces challenges on China, climate, equity

(Sherrod Brown, Washington, 10 February 2022) U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, applauded Reta Jo Lewis’ confirmation as President of the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank. Lewis was confirmed by a vote of 56-40. Lewis currently serves as a Senior Fellow and Director of Congressional Affairs at the German Marshall Fund, where she leads bipartisan efforts to strengthen transatlantic cooperation. Before joining the German Marshall Fund, Ms. Lewis served in the Obama Administration as the State Department’s first-ever Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs. Reuters noted that EXIM starts a new era as Lewis takes office as the first person of color and the first Black woman to lead the agency, facing challenges on competing with China’s massive export financing, climate change and racial equity.


Total’s East African crude oil pipeline ‘struggling’ to find financiers

(NationofChange, Costa Mesa CA, 8 February 2022) Campaigners have for years opposed the proposed pipeline and associated oil projects. They say that EACOP – which is set to be electrically heated to keep the oil at the right temperature – would cut through vital rivers and forest ecosystems. If the pipeline is built, over 100,000 people across Uganda and Tanzania would lose agricultural land, and thousands could lose their homes. TotalEnergies and partner China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) signalled a public intention to proceed with the project last week. They pledged to invest more than US$10 billion in developing crude oil production in East Africa, in addition to the estimated $3.5-$5 billion cost of the pipeline. However, a coalition of environmental and human rights groups opposing the pipeline, Stop EACOP, says the announcement is thin on detail and the project is not yet assured. Last month, HSBC, Mizuho and the United Overseas Bank all confirmed they are not supporting the project. The statements bring the total number of banks that have distanced themselves from the project to 11, including ANZ, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Credit Suisse, Royal Bank of Canada, Société Générale and UniCredit. After announcing the final investment decision, the shareholders of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (Eacop) now turn to looking for money.


AfCFTA Secretariat, Afreximbank Seal Deal on $10bn Fund to Boost African Economies

(This Day Live, Lagos, 10 February 2022) The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), yesterday in Cairo, signed an agreement on the management of the AfCFTA Adjustment Fund (ADF) that would require $10 billion over the next five to 10 years. The base fund is a facility that would support African countries to cope with the loss of revenues from import tariffs and the private sector to effectively participate in the new trading environment established under the AfCFTA. Already, Afreximbank has committed $1 billion towards the ADF, which is made up of a base fund, a general fund and a credit fund.


AfreximBank Trade Centre Harare project to start soon

(Construction Review, Nairobi, 7 February 2022) AfreximBank Trade Centre will house the bank’s southern Africa regional office, that it is part of a bigger strategic plan to transform the bank’s regional offices and headquarters into a network of AATCs. The entire project cost is now estimated to be close to $100 million; however, precise figures are still being finalized. The Harare AATC will include 30 000 square meters of built space, including prime corporate office space, a four-star hotel, conferencing facilities, trade information services, a tech incubation lab, and other amenities. The African Export-Import Bank Africa Trade Centre (AATC), often known as Afreximbank, head office in Harare is taking form, with full drawings already sketched and building set to begin in the third quarter of this year. The project, which is anticipated to be completed by 2025, will make Harare a critical hub for delivering the African Continental Free Trade Agreement’s promise (ACfTA).


Sustainability in export finance – the push for change

(TXF News, London, 2 February 2022) The volume of sustainable deals within the export finance sector is growing. But to take this forward positively across all industrial sectors requires a sensible debate with a clear pathway to ensure business is not lost. Widespread sustainability within export finance is something which has come relatively late to the framework of export credit agency-backed financing, particularly when compared to development bank financing activity. For some time there has been a wide perception that export financing is lagging behind DFI financing in terms of overall sustainability. But its here now and is on the agendas of ECAs and most international commercial banks alike. This has not been easy and will still be tough for ECAs going forward. Why? Because ECAs are there to support and service their exporters, and many of these companies are going to be involved in some way and in some part of the energy transition for decades to come. This is a big debate which will no doubt rage for some time to come. The issue of sustainability within the export finance industry grew last year with the publication of the International Chamber of Commerce White Paper on Sustainability in Export Finance.


Italy clears hurdle to buy SACE in $4.8 bln deal

(Reuters, Rome, 25 January 2022) Italy approved a long-awaited decree needed for the Treasury to buy credit insurance agency SACE from state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) in a deal expected to be worth around 4.25 billion euros ($4.81 billion). The Treasury wants to directly control the export agency, given its growing importance in supporting the economy. Rome supports SACE by partly sharing its risk exposure, which could potentially hurt public finances over time. SACE's governance will be in the hands of the Treasury, dealing a blow to Di Maio whose Foreign Affairs Ministry, according to one of the sources, is set to lose control over strategic decisions regarding the export credit. The deal reverses the divestment made during the 2012 sovereign debt crisis by the technocrat government of Mario Monti, which sold SACE to the CDP for around 6 billion euros.


Building a bank for entrepreneurs is crucial, says CEO of Bpifrance

(New African Magazine, London, 11 February 2022) Bpifrance Assurance Export, a department of the investment bank Bpifrance, administers French state export guarantees management, transfered from the the Coface Group in 2015. Bpifrance notes that it helps stimulate French business’ growth by offering loans, providing guarantees and awarding buyer credit and supplier credit to encourage business abroad. It finances over 80 000 companies and provided over 6000 investment loans and 50000 short term loans in 2018 with a total production of 19 billion euros. Bpifrance is also the innovation agency for entrepreneurs with 1,3 billion euros of innovation soft loans distributed to 6000 companies every year.


Canada Bangladesh FTA negotiations with EDC role?

(New Age Business, Dhaka, 8 February 2022) The governments of Bangladesh and Canada are working on signing a free trade agreement and a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement to increase bilateral trade between the two countries. Masud Rahman, president of the Canada-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that Export Development Canada (EDC) can play a role in increasing investment through the formation of ‘Bangladesh Fund’.


Africa’s Fossil-Fuel Investment Trap

(Foreign Affairs, Congers NY, 17 February 2022) By continuing to finance gas expansion in Africa Nnimmo Bassey and Anabela Lemos argue that outside investors, including ECAs, are in fact displacing renewables, delaying Africa’s energy transition, and making it harder for countries to decarbonize and escape a harmful extractive economic model. Investments in renewable energy would produce an economic model that is cheaper, more reliable, and more democratic. Africa need not be seen as a site of destitution and need. It is a continent with rich knowledge, practices, and potential for establishing ecologically sound socioeconomic systems — ones that don’t replicate the mistakes made by so many others in the past century. Ending coal finance now but oil and gas investments later, as advocated by Nigeria's Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, puts off African development now and continues to channel these investments into corrupt regimes and/or inefficient technologies, and not into more immediate benefits from new efficient long-term electricity/energy technologies for Africans now.


What's New January 2022

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.

  • Campaigners say EU due diligence laws should apply to ECAs
  • Export credit agencies provide billions to fossil fuel projects each year
  • Why oil-loving Ottawa must end its financing of fossil fuels
  • UK holds Africa Investment Conference aimed at UK "green" exports
  • UK and Italy kick off talks on new trade partnership
  • Efforts Aim to Boost Arab Exports to Russia
  • Swedish Export Credit Corporation recruits Head of Sustainability
  • UAE and South Korean ECAs in pact to boost green energy projects
  • ECA Market Set for Explosive Growth | Coface, Zurich, Euler Hermes, Sinosure, Atradius
  • China unveils guidelines to stabilize trade
  • Genting Hong Kong confirms insolvency filing in Germany based on Euler Hermes block
  • OECD Global Anti-Corruption & Integrity Forum: 30 March - 1 April
  • EDPR and DEK ink debt funding for 149-MW Polish wind portfolio
  • EXIM Accused of Switch From Anti Chinese Communist Party To Beijing Ally

Campaigners say EU due diligence laws should apply to ECAs

(Global Trade Review, London 19 January 2022) A planned European Union law requiring large and businesses and financial institutions to conduct human rights and environmental due diligence should also apply to export credit agencies (ECAs), activists say. The initiative has strong support from the European Parliament but the Commission’s draft text has been held up twice by a regulatory oversight board that scrutinises proposed laws, according to MEPs. In December last year, four MEPs blamed the delays on lobbying by business groups in France and Denmark, and requested access to the board’s opinions on the draft proposals, which are not usually published until proposals are formally adopted. ECA Watch, a network of global non-government organisations who argue for ECA reform and transparency, sent a letter to the Commission in November urging ECAs to be in scope of the proposed law, noting" “Active obligations from ECAs [under the law] will effectively encourage a significant number of companies to fulfil their due diligence obligations and ensure that also ECAs themselves effectively comply with the human rights and environmental obligations of the member states on whose behalf they operate... Past experience shows that export credit guarantees are repeatedly granted for projects with serious adverse human rights and environmental consequences.” One of the letter’s authors, Heike Drillisch from German human rights and environment initiative CounterCurrent, says that while ECAs judge projects against standards such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, they may not take an interest in the companies involved and whether they are respecting human rights. “We say that as state money is involved in export credit schemes, there should really be a heightened due diligence process in place and ECAs should be aware of not becoming complicit in human rights violations which occur in the project,” Drillisch tells GTR. Lawmakers want to capture non-EU firms too. A non-binding European Parliament resolution on the proposed law, adopted by 504 votes to 79, called on EU governments not to allow access to ECA support for companies that do not comply with the “objective” of the law. Asked how likely it is that public finance and insurance bodies such as ECAs will be in scope of the legislation, Linklaters associate James Marlow says to the extent that such organisations “are public bodies and extensions of member state governments, it is less likely that they will be directly captured by any regime… on mandatory due diligence”. However, Marlow tells GTR, to avoid reputational damage “it is possible that such bodies would be impacted indirectly as they or their government may look to align their policies and processes with stakeholder expectations and obligations” that apply to their counterparts in the private sector.


Export credit agencies provide billions to fossil fuel projects each year

(Fossil Free ECAs, Amsterdam, 30 January 2022) We can’t solve the climate crisis if export credit agencies (ECAs) continue to bankroll fossil fuels. This campaign is designed to inform the public and tell the governments behind these agencies to immediately end all export credit and other public financial support for oil, gas and coal. In recent years, banks and other private lenders have been backing out of fossil fuel projects as they recognise the huge financial risks posed by climate change. Governments with an interest in seeing these projects succeed are turning to ECAs to bankroll and encourage further investment in the projects. Fossil fuel support from ECAs disproportionately benefits corporations based in the Global North and impedes a just energy transition in the Global South.


Why oil-loving Ottawa must end its financing of fossil fuels

(Toronto Star, Ottawa, 17 January 2022) By Karen Hamilton, director of ECA Watch member Above Ground, a project of MakeWay Charitable Society that works to ensure companies based in Canada or supported by the Canadian state respect human rights and the environment wherever they operate. Fossil fuel subsidies will likely figure prominently in climate policy debates when Parliament resumes sitting later this month, with particular focus on how Ottawa will fulfil its recent pledge to end fossil fuel subsidies by 2023, two years earlier than originally promised. Equally deserving of public attention is the government’s commitment to phase out public financing of fossil fuels. This support, which the government does not consider a subsidy, has led to Canada being singled out on the world stage as one of the biggest boosters of fossil fuels. At last count, this support totalled $13.6 billion a year on average. Most of Canada’s fossil finance comes from Export Development Canada (EDC), which provides loans, insurance and other forms of support to companies in Canada and abroad. EDC has recently issued billions in loans for controversial projects such as the Trans Mountain and Coastal GasLink pipelines.


UK holds Africa Investment Conference aimed at UK "green" exports

(RunningAfrica, location unknown, 21 January 2022) The UK Government reportedly hosted the second Africa Investment Conference on January 20th, 2022 to boost the nation’s economic cooperation with African countries and also enhance its role as the continent’s chosen investment partner for climate-friendly, green ventures. Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Secretary of State for International Trade, UK, had hosted the one-day virtual event, which focused on unlocking millions of pounds of new investments, particularly for clean energy sectors in the UK as well as across Africa. UK’s export credit agency, UK Export Finance, has significantly increased support for the African market over the last year, going from £600 million ($815 million) in 2018-19 to over £2.3 billion ($3.1 billion) in 2020-21. The Independent of London notes: "The UK is playing host to an African Investment Conference on Thursday, as it scrambles to retain influence on the continent, an investment battle ground for the world’s largest economies."


UK and Italy kick off talks on new trade partnership

(Jersey Evening Post, St Helier, 12 January 2022) The UK and Italy have started discussions on a new export and investment partnership aimed at boosting trade between the two countries, the International Trade Secretary announced. Italy is the world’s eighth-largest economy and trade between Rome and London was worth £38 billion last year. Italy is the UK's ninth-largest trading partner, while the UK is Italy’s fifth-largest export market. London and Rome will also try to boost collaboration and sharing of best practice between the two countries’ export credit organisations – UK Export Finance and the Italian Export Credit Agency [SACE] – helping SMEs and companies looking to grow. At the meeting of G20 trade ministers on Tuesday, the International Trade Secretary made the case that British businesses that “play by the rules” should not be “damaged and undercut by market-distorting practices from other countries”. The announcement comes after Ms Trevelyan, UK International Trade Secretary called for greater transparency at the World Trade Organisation and reform of its rules around state subsidies.


Efforts Aim to Boost Arab Exports to Russia

(Asharq Al-Awsat, London, 27 January 2022) The Arab Investment and Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (Dhaman) said it is ready to boost trade and investment cooperation between Arab states and Russia through its diverse insurance, information and research services. This came in a worksheet presented by Head of Research and Publishing Unit Ahmed Eldabaa on behalf of Dhaman’s Director-General Abdullah Ahmad al-Sabeeh in the opening session of the Russian-Arab Business Council, which kicked off on Tuesday at the Dubai EXPO Exhibition Center. The sheet revealed that the value of Russian-Arab trade ties stood at $14.7 billion, according to UNCTAD data, during the period between 2011 and 2020. This represents 2.1% of Russia’s foreign trade volume and 0.8% of the Arab countries' foreign trade volume in the Mediterranean.


Swedish Export Credit Corporation recruits Head of Sustainability

(Market Screener, 14 January 2022) The Swedish Export Credit Corporation, SEK, establishes a new role in the executive management to accelerate work on sustainability, and has recruited Maria Simonson as Head of Sustainability. Maria has joined SEK from Danske Bank where she was Head of Group Sustainability. The Swedish Export Credit Corporation (SEK) is a state-owned company that finances Swedish exporters, their suppliers, and international buyers of Swedish products and services. SEK states that "Sustainability is central to SEK's operations, and therefore it is a natural step to finance the industry's transition to a fossil-free society; a development that also creates new export opportunities."


UAE and South Korean ECAs in pact to boost green energy projects

(National News, Abu Dhabi, 17 January 2022) Etihad Credit Insurance has signed an agreement with the Korea Trade Insurance Corporation, better known as K-Sure, to boost investment in the development of sustainable green energy. The partnership will focus on hydrogen projects and seek to boost trade relations between the UAE and South Korea.


ECA Market Set for Explosive Growth | Coface, Zurich, Euler Hermes, Sinosure, Atradius

(Digital Journal, New Jersey, 17 January 2022) A new intelligence report released by HTF MI with the title “Credit Insurance Market Survey & Outlook” is designed covering micro level of analysis by Insurers and key business segments, offerings and sales channels. Some of the key players profiled in the study are Euler Hermes, Sinosure, Atradius, Coface, Zurich, Credendo Group, QBE Insurance & Cesce. The global Credit Insurance market was valued at US$12,610 million in 2021 and is projected to reach US$14,500 million by 2028. This study mainly helps understand which market segments or Country; Insurance carriers, Aggregators should focus in years to come to channelize their efforts and investments in Credit Insurance to maximize growth and profitability. [The cost of this report is not advertised and my efforts to access an advertised summary were blocked.]


China unveils guidelines to stabilize trade

(Global Times, Beijing, 12 January 2022) China's cabinet, on Tuesday called for efforts to ensure domestic supplies of commodities, as part of guidelines to stabilize exports and imports as a countercyclical buffer against uncertainty clouding the trade landscape. Presently, the country's exports and imports are facing increased uncertainty, instability and imbalance, and the fundamentals of its trade operations remain unsound, the State Council said in an announcement on Tuesday while releasing a slew of countercyclical measures to prop up micro, small and medium-sized trade businesses. Among the measures that are intended to secure orders, stabilize expectations and foster stable trade are efforts to coordinate and ensure stable commodity imports, revise and improve the list of retail imports via cross-border e-commerce, and broaden the import categories to better meet diversified consumption needs. On top of that, the guidelines proposed an acceleration of export tax rebates and the improvement of export credit insurance services to better protect smaller trade firms against the cancellation of orders before shipments.


Genting Hong Kong confirms insolvency filing in Germany based on Euler Hermes block

(Bharat Express News, Punjab, 11 January 2022) MV Werften, the German cruise ship builder controlled by Malaysian billionaire Lim Kok Thay’s Genting Hong Kong, has filed for bankruptcy after failing to strike a deal with the German government to support additional funding for a mega cruise ship that the company built for Genting Hong Kong. As the travel industry grapples with the lingering impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Genting Hong Kong requested additional funding to complete construction of the 342-meter-long cruise ship, dubbed the Global Dream, which could accommodate up to 9,500 passengers. While agreements were reached with creditors in June 2021, Euler Hermes, the German government’s export credit insurance agency, refused to confirm insurance coverage for the finance facility, preventing creditors to disburse the loan in December, the operator of Star Cruises said in a regulatory statement. deposit Monday. “The company understands that Euler Hermes’ rejection is based on a review of the group’s five-year outlook prepared at the request of Euler Hermes, which took into account various stress scenarios affecting the group, in particular a persistent and sustained reduction in activities as a result of Covid-19, ”said Genting Hong Kong.


OECD Global Anti-Corruption & Integrity Forum: 30 March - 1 April

(OECD, Paris, 28 January 2022) The health, economic and social crisis triggered by the pandemic created new opportunities for integrity violations and corruption to thrive, prioritising integrity in governance like never before. How can we renew governance, business, development aid, anti-corruption efforts and taxation with integrity, and establish a renewed sense of social purpose? Anti-corruption NGO Our World in Data notes that: "Many firms from high-income countries engage in bribery across the world. Their official records show that US firms have paid bribes in 80 countries since 1977 - including in many OECD countries. See also Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index.


EDPR and DEK ink debt funding for 149-MW Polish wind portfolio

(Renewables Now, Fresno, 18 January 2022) Renewable energy producer EDP Renewables (ELI:EDPR) said today it has sealed a deal to obtain debt funding for a 149.4-MW portfolio of wind projects in Poland. The project financing was arranged by the European Investment Bank (EIB), Spain’s Banco Santander and Caixabank SA. Denmark’s EKF acted as export credit agency (ECA) coverage provider. The obtained funds will be directed towards the development, construction and operation of six wind parks in southeastern, northwestern and northern parts of Poland.


EXIM Accused of Switch From Anti Chinese Communist Party To Beijing Ally

(Epoch Times, New York, 10 January 2022) Commentary: Thomas McArdle - While it’s bad enough that President Joe Biden has nominated in Reta Jo Lewis a longtime, committed appeaser of the oppressive, genocidal, and expansionist People’s Republic of China to chair the Export-Import Bank of the United States, it’s probably worse that prominent U.S. business entities continue to gulp the Kool-Aid about the long widely-accepted but now thoroughly discredited notion that capitalism is wooing China into democratic reform and lawfulness. EXIM’s China Program, mandated by Congress, was intended to make EXIM’s private loan guarantees and other products for U.S. exporters “fully competitive with rates, terms, and other conditions established by the People’s Republic of China” for its export business interests, utilizing 20 percent of EXIM’s total financing authority–some $27 billion out of $135 billion–and to advance competition with China in “innovation, employment, and technological standards” focused on 10 industries ranging from 5G to fintech to renewable energy to biotechnology. [The Epoch Times was started in 2000 as a Chinese language newspaper associated with the Fulan Gong, a Chinese religious order that opposes communism and is banned from practicing in China.]