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

ECA Watch launches Map on popular alternatives

Brussels, 29 October 2014 
 
Global NGO network launches a Map that shows popular alternative proposals for infrastructure to encourage public finance institutions to invest in better projects ECA Watch, a network of non-governmental organizations campaigning for reform of public finance institutions (e.g.

ECA Watch What's New October 2014

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! you can subscribe at www.eca-watch.org  Questions? Email info@eca-watch.org

  • Controversial Suez canal expansion contract signed
  • ECA Watch expresses concern over ECA plans to continue coal financing
  • Japan coal power plant export push hits U.S. resistance
  • Exporters fail on pledge to curb bribery: Transparency International
  • Mapping popular alternative proposals for envisioning infrastructure
  • US Congress approves Ex-Im reauthorization only to June 2015
  • US, Brazil reach agreement to end US export subsidies for cotton
  • Russia provides $10bn credit for nuclear power plant construction in Belarus
  • Korea Eximbank seeks lead in Northeast Asia's Development
  • Ex-Im Bank Underwrites $1 Billion Guarantee of Pemex Bonds

Controversial Suez canal expansion contract signed

(Both ENDS, Amsterdam, 23 October 2014) On 18 October it was reported that the Egyptian authorities signed a contract with an international consortium of dredging companies to expand the Suez canal. The consortium includes the two main Dutch dredging companies: Royal Boskalis Westminster and Van Oord, as well as the Jan de Nul Group from Belgium and the National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC) of Abu Dhabi. The total contract values an amount of US$ 1.5 billion. ECA-cover by Atradius DSB is foreseen as part of the deal. The CEO of Boskalis – Mr. Berdowski – expressed confidence that this should not be a problem. There are serious concerns for questioning whether this project should be eligible for export credit cover from Atradius DSB. The UK's Guardian reported in September that thousands of people have already been evicted for this project without compensation, while a total of 5.000 houses would be under threat of eviction. Evicted villagers have simply been told that they had no right to live in the area, and some persons who protested the army making this claim have already been arrested. Also, major concerns have already been raised on environmental impacts such as groundwater problems due to the absence of necessary research that should precede implementation.

Read the full Both Ends statement here.

http://www.eca-watch.org/publications/suez-canal-expansion-contract-signed


ECA Watch expresses concern over ECA plans to continue coal financing

(ECA Watch, Brussels, 29 October 2014) ECA Watch has written OECD ECA's, Finance Ministers and OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría regarding upcoming discussions around coal financing through export credit agencies. We understand that they may be considering proposals to perpetuate coal financing and even to extend preferential terms for certain coal plant technologies. We urge them to reject this proposal, which would pervert the internationally identified goal of curbing support for coal, including export credit agency support. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), if planetary warming is to be kept under 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels (the level deemed “dangerous” by world leaders), the majority of proven fossil fuel reserves will have to be left in the ground. The IPCC has also found that, in order to limit temperature rise to 2°, annual investments in conventional fossil fuel power plants over the next two decades (2010 to 2029) have to decline by an average US$ 30 billion, and annual investments in extraction of fossil fuels have to decline by an average US$ 110 billion. Our letter follows on concerns expressed in May and June 2014

Read our letter here

http://www.eca-watch.org/sites/eca-watch.org/files/NGO%20Opposition%20to%20Bette...


Japan coal power plant export push hits U.S. resistance

(Reuters, Tokyo, 23 October 2014) The United States has challenged the Japanese government over moves to ramp up exports of coal-fired power technology and to offer cheap loans to lure buyers, according to a U.S. source with direct knowledge of the matter. Japan's shipments of the equipment soared to nearly $8 billion last year as it looks to boost infrastructure exports, defying U.S. calls for developed nations to stop investment in foreign coal projects to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/23/japan-coal-exports-idUSL3N0RW4AQ201410...


Exporters fail on pledge to curb bribery: Transparency International

(Reuters, Berlin, 23 October 2014) Big exporting nations are breaking their pledge to fight corruption in global trade, with more than half of the countries that have signed an OECD anti-bribery convention failing to implement it, a report by Transparency International (TI) showed on Thursday. The Berlin-based anti-corruption watchdog named Japan, the Netherlands, Greece, Russia and Brazil as among the worst offenders. [The latest OECD Export Credit Working Group review of member responses to the 2006 survey on ECA measures taken to combat bribery, and individual ECA survey responses, can be found by patient and diligent researchers on the OECD web site, but show previously identified weaknesses in the monitoring of compliance. For example, one OECD member ECA only requires their underwriters to exercise enhanced due diligence if a corporate applicant has admitted to being debarred by the World Bank, the IMF or other IFIs, would allow support if a convicted briber has implemented improved management systems to detect bribery, and only sometimes will invalidate support to a company that is proven to have been involved in bribery.]

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN0IC0R220141023?irpc=932


Mapping popular alternative proposals for envisioning infrastructure

(ECA Watch, Barcelona & Brussels, 29 October 2014) ECA Watch in collaboration with ODG of Spain have produced a map of popular alternative proposals with respect to mega infrastructure projects, which are too often responsible for the privatization of common goods and resources. These popular alternatives have been developed in order to fulfil real needs, instead of the contrived needs that serve capital interests in the North and the South. The map shows cases in the energy, water and transpost sectors and, while not pretending to be exhaustive, will help spread information and proposals to link people and groups to enrich the narrative on alternative infrastructure projects.

Check out the map here.

http://www.eca-watch.org/node/3637


US Congress approves Ex-Im reauthorization only to June 2015

(Devex, Washington, 6 October 2014) Congress has voted to reauthorize Ex-Im, the government agency that finances U.S. exports of goods and services — but only through June 30, 2015. The measure passed after it was tucked into a much larger spending bill that also funded the Obama administration’s Ebola response. In a debate largely fought along ideological lines, tea party Republicans argued that Ex-Im has a history of financing politically favored companies. Advocates for Ex-Im, including the Obama administration, insisted that in the face of stiff global competition, the bank’s support is needed to sustain American businesses and jobs. Drawing far less scrutiny and attention in Washington, however, is the reality that Ex-Im is also emerging as a key player in Power Africa, U.S. President Barack Obama’s initiative to double access to energy across sub-Saharan Africa by 2018. In fact, of Obama’s $7 billion, five-year pledge to Power Africa announced last year, up to $5 billion in financing is slated to come from the bank.
 

https://www.devex.com/news/ex-im-s-5b-checkbook-for-power-africa-has-few-takers-...


US, Brazil reach agreement to end US export subsidies for cotton

(Fibre2Fashion News, Ahmedabad, 2 October 2014) The United States and Brazil have agreed to settle their long-standing cotton dispute over U.S. agricultural export subsidies under the US Farm Bill and the USDA GSM-102 programme. As per the agreement, Brazil will relinquish all rights to countermeasures against US trade. In turn, the US will make a one-time final contribution of US$ 300 million to the Brazil Cotton Institute, or IBA. Both countries also agreed to formally terminate the cotton case at the WTO Dispute Settlement Body within 21 days. "€œBrazil has also agreed not to bring new WTO actions against US cotton support programs while the current US Farm Bill is in force or against agricultural export credit guarantees under the GSM-102 program as long as the program is operated consistent with the agreed terms,"€ the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in a statement. [The United States currently pays around $20 billion per year to farmers in direct subsidies as "farm income stabilization" via U.S. farm bills and US$3.1 billion via the USDA GSM-102 programme.]

[Note: Article 23 of the OECD managed Arrangement on Official Export Credits states that "The Participants shall charge premium, in addition to interest charges, to cover the risk of non-repayment of export credits. The premium rates charged by the Participants shall be risk-based, shall converge and shall not be inadequate to cover long-term operating costs and losses." In 2005 a UK government study determined that their export credits received some £150 million or US$271 million per year in subsidies. Article I(j) of the WTO Agreement on Subsidies, which the Arrangement was intended to enforce on ECAs, has similar wording on subsidies.]

http://www.fibre2fashion.com/news/textile-news/newsdetails.aspx?news_id=168001


Russia provides $10bn credit for nuclear power plant construction in Belarus

(Energy Business Review, London, 6 October 2014) The Russian government has approved $10bn credit to Belarus for the construction of a nuclear power plant (NPP) in Belarus... "The Russian side will provide the Belorussian side a state export credit of up to $10 billion to finance the cost of every contract ... on supply of goods, works done and services delivered ... by a Russian organization responsible for the construction of two energetic blocks [nuclear reactors] in Belarus." The project was initiated by Belarus in the 1980s, but was put on hold following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 in Ukraine. Additionally, concerns over the project were also raised by Belarusian opposition and environmental activists. These concerns became widespread following the March 2011 disaster at Fukushima nuclear power station in Japan. The new nuclear power plant will also feature advanced technology to ensure accident-free operations.

http://nuclear.energy-business-review.com/news/russia-provides-10bn-credit-for-n...


Korea Eximbank seeks lead in Northeast Asia's Development

(Korea Times, Seoul, 29 September 2014) The Export-Import Bank of Korea said Sunday that it would take the lead in promoting joint economic projects in the Northeast Asian region... On Sept. 18, export-import banks from Korea, China, Russia and Mongolia signed an agreement in Yanbian, China, to launch the Northeast Asia EXIM Banks Association for financial cooperation in the region's joint development projects, Korea Eximbank said in a statement... "Through the multilateral agreement, we expect the countries to explore opportunities for joint development projects and the banks to join hands to financially support the projects in Northeast Asia," Eximbank Chairman and President Lee Duk-hoon said in the statement.

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/biz/2014/09/488_165441.html


Ex-Im Bank Underwrites $1 Billion Guarantee of Pemex Bonds

(The Economic Voice, Southampton, 24 October 2014) The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) on Monday approved two authorizations totaling $1 billion in financing to support the export of U.S. goods and services to Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), Mexico's national oil-and-gas company. Pemex will issue Ex-Im Bank-guaranteed bonds in capital markets to fund the purchases of these exports. [This development is taking place under Mexico's recent liberalization the petroleum sector which allows private sector participation after decades of state monopoly.]

http://www.economicvoice.com/ex-im-bank-supports-us-jobs-through-usd-1-billion-g...


What's New September 2014

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! you can subscribe at www.eca-watch.org  Questions? Email info@eca-watch.org

  • UK Export Finance invites partners to help deliver £3 billion of export credit loans
  • UKEF Aerospace Head Says Capital markets key to future funding for aviation markets
  • India tightens Vietnam defence with US$100 million export credit
  • India, Japan sign deal for export credit of $152 million
  • Poland slashes export insurance rates to bolster produce exports banned from Russia
  • Improvement of export credit facilities needed to drive Irish Food Harvest 2020
  • Nigeria's NEXIM Bank and the Task of Export Promotion
  • US ethanol stocks dive after Brazilian export credit announced

UKEF Aerospace Head Says Capital markets key to future funding for aviation markets

(Fresh Business Thinking, London, 23 September 2014) "Commercial finance and liquidity may be readily available at the moment, but the aviation sector also needs to consider capital markets as a source of future funding," that is the message UK Export Finance’s Head of Aerospace, Gordon Welsh, delivered yesterday (Monday) to delegates at International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading (ISTAT) Conference in Istanbul. UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK’s export credit agency, supports UK exporters with a range of insurance, guarantees, and direct lending facilities that complement funding available from the commercial sector. The aviation industry is a very important sector to UKEF. Anticipating a debate about the relative merits of commercial debt compared to use of capital markets for the aviation sector, Mr Welsh believes that while commercial debt is currently attractive to the aviation sector, ahead of the introduction of Basel III and adoption of its leverage ratio, capital markets have the potential to offer stability in both liquidity and pricing. Welsh noted: "There is a clear role for export credit agencies in the future funding of the aviation sector. By filling the gaps in private sector finance provision we increase capacity. "With successful products already supporting the industry, we can also take a long term view, working closely with our French and German colleagues and considering innovative features such as pre-funded bonds that can be structured, or instant bonds capable of being issued on a drawdown basis. These are initiatives with the potential to help secure the future of the aviation industry."

http://www.freshbusinessthinking.com/news.php?NID=23671&Title=Capital%20markets%...


UK Export Finance invites partners to help deliver £3 billion of export credit loans

(Business Credit Management, London, 5 September 2014) UK Export Finance, the UK’s export credit agency, is inviting partners to apply to help it deliver £3 billion of export credit loans as part of its enhanced direct lending facility. The government department, which during the last five years has provided over 1,500 guarantees and insurance policies with an exposure value in excess of £14 billion, is setting up a panel of suitably qualified partner banks and/or financial organisations to help arrange and administer the direct lending facility (DLF) export credit loans. Under the DLF, UK Export Finance (UKEF) will provide loans to overseas buyers in order to finance the purchase of goods and services from UK exporters. Loans are available to cover new international sales by any business exporting from the UK, to any country where UKEF medium term cover is available, and can be made in Sterling, US Dollars, Euro or Japanese Yen.

http://www.creditman.biz/uk/members/news-view.asp?newsviewID=20406


India tightens Vietnam defence with US$100 million export credit

(Reuters, New Delhi, 16 September 2014) India and Vietnam have deepened military cooperation over the past decade. India extended a $100 million export credit to Vietnam for defence deals and tightened energy ties on Monday. India and Vietnam have deepened military cooperation over the past decade and under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is pushing ahead with a new strategy to establish itself as an arms exporter using export credits to leverage foreign sales.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-tightens-Vietnam-defence-oil-ties...


India, Japan sign deal for export credit of $152 million

(Hindu Business Line, Mumbai, 1 September 2014) The State Bank of India (SBI) and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) signed a dual-currency loan agreement of $152 million. “The loan is co-financed with the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd amounting to ¥13.5 billion ($131 million) and $21 million approximately. The total co-financing amount came to $152 million,” an SBI official said. This is the third time that SBI has participated with JBIC in a project funding. The bank, in a statement, said this credit line will be utilised by Meja Urja Nigam Pvt Ltd (MUNPL) to finance the procurement of steam turbine generator equipment from Japan’s Toshiba Corporation and its subsidiary in India, Toshiba JSW Power Systems, to construct a super critical pressure coal-fired power plant (660MWx2 units) in Uttar Pradesh.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/banking/sbi-jbic-sign-2...


Poland slashes export insurance rates to bolster produce exports banned from Russia

(Fresh Fruit Portal, Santiago, 3 September 2014) The Polish government has lowered the export insurance rate in a bid to encourage suppliers to find new markets for produce banned from Russia, while also helping to ease the financial pressures of exporting in the wake of the blockade. Working with the Export Credit Insurance Corporation, Poland’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has announced a 20% discount on insurance to a raft of countries, including large markets such as the Middle East and China. However, the discount only applies to produce that is currently part of the Russian embargo and for Polish producers and suppliers this is mainly apples, cabbage, peppers and sprouts.

http://www.freshfruitportal.com/2014/09/03/poland-slashes-export-insurance-rates...


Improvement of export credit facilities needed to drive Irish Food Harvest 2020

(Farmers Journal, Dublin, 22 September 2014) A report published by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney today shows that the country is on track to meet the Food Harvest 2020 target. The target of reaching €12bn worth of agri-food exports by 2020 is still achievable. The report states that a number of issues, including access to increased credit as well as the opening of new markets need to be addressed. As the primary focus of Food Harvest 2020 is driving exports, the report says that great supports should be given to exporters. “Government should consider the specific needs of the food and beverages sector in its deliberation on short term export credit insurance scheme.”

http://www.farmersjournal.ie/improvement-of-credit-facilities-needed-to-drive-fo...


Nigeria’s NEXIM Bank and the Task of Export Promotion

(ThisDayLive, Lagos, 30 August 2014) According to the managing director of Nigeria Export-Import Bank, Mr. Roberts Orya, “The non-oil sectors are now the key drivers of the country’s GDP growth, which is expected to rise to 7.3 percent in 2014 Nigeria’s rise above South Africa and Egypt in attracting foreign direct investment boils down to her frontier opportunities in various sectors such as power, infrastructure, agriculture, solid minerals, retailing and services. The job opportunities created by these robust economic prospects have been tremendous. No doubt, a private-sector driven economy has globally shown to be the panacea for job creation. It is against this backdrop that the Nigeria Export-Import Bank has not rested on its oars in ensuring that the nation’s private sector has the maximum support to thrive. In the services sector for instance, the bank has made total funding disbursement of N15.6 billion (US$95.2 million), which accounts for 16.4 per cent of total loan disbursement by the bank.

http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/nexim-bank-and-task-of-export-promotion/1877...


US ethanol stocks dive after Brazilian export credit announced

(Biofuel Digest, 12 September 12 2014) In the US, ethanol producers’ stocks took an enormous hit yesterday after Brazil announced it would offer an export tax credit on ethanol. Meantime, potential regulatory changes in the U.S. have already put ethanol makers under pressure. The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed cutting the amount of biofuels that refiners will be required to blend into gasoline. And in California, regulators have given Brazilian sugar ethanol a better greenhouse gas rating than corn-based ethanol produced in the U.S., making Brazilian imports more desirable. The Digest reported yesterday on Brazil’s credit, which will expand a tax credit to sugar and ethanol producers to spur demand for biofuel for the second time this month. Under the program, known as Reintegra, producers will receive a tax credit worth 0.3 percent of their exports.

http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2014/09/12/pacific-ethanol-stock-takes-a-d...


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