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 October 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.

  • Finland joins growing list of countries restricting international oil and gas finance
  • Friends of the Earth US asks Biden to RELEASE THE GUIDANCE
  • Italy pushes to weaken European fossil fuel financing pledge
  • German ECA supported defence system for Egypt diverted to Ukraine
  • Korean Eximbank holds OECD Environmental and Social Practitioners' Meeting
  • South Korean ECAs challenged during National Assembly session about Barossa Project
  • Trade unions call for a just net-zero aviation transition including ECA support for aviation finance
  • Cesce and Alstom sign a strategic agreement to promote green exports
  • Loss of ECA finance harms lower impact deep water oil and gas says offshore chief
  • Export finance in a post-pandemic world
  • Russia may start providing ECA finance to importers of its grain
  • Ukraine calls on banks to support exports through new ECA mechanisms
  • Brazilian ECA to fund Embraer aircraft exports to SkyWest
  • Saudi Electricity Company lands Swedish ECA backed finance for Egypt electricity interconnection

Finland joins growing list of countries restricting international oil & gas finance

(Oil Change International, Washington, 12 October 2022) Finland has joined a growing list of countries making good on a key pledge from the UN COP26 climate summit in Glasgow last year, by releasing a new policy ending almost all support for fossil fuels via Finnvera, the Finnish Government’s export credit agency, leaving Norway the only Nordic country not to do so. Finland joins the UK, France, Denmark, Sweden and Belgium in publishing policies restricting fossil fuel finance to deliver on the COP26 commitment, building momentum ahead of the COP27 UN climate summit in Egypt next month. Countries that have yet to deliver on their promise to end fossil fuel finance include the USA, Canada, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. Analysis shows that if all Glasgow Statement signatories live up to their commitment this will directly shift USD 28 billion a year out of fossil fuels and into clean energy, which will help shift even larger sums of public and private finance. This would also help raise pressure on the countries that are lagging behind. Laggards include Japan ($10.9 bn/yr), Korea ($10.6 bn/yr), and China ($7.6 bn/yr), which are the largest providers of international public fossil fuel finance in the G20 and together account for 46% of G20 and MDB finance for fossil fuels. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), one of the biggest EU fossil fuel financiers, is also missing. Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) are the worst public finance actors on fossil fuels, with G20 ECAs having supported 11 times more in fossil fuels (USD 40.1 billion) than in renewable energy (USD 3.5 billion) from 2018-2020, effective leadership in aligning ECAs with climate goals is desperately needed. The E3F Transparency report outlines that from 2015-2020, E3F members supported almost 175 billion Euros in fossil fuels compared to only 20 billion Euros in renewables.


Friends of the Earth US asks Biden to "RELEASE THE GUIDANCE!"

(Friends of the Earth US, Washington, 24 October 2022) Friends of the Earth US has produced a 16 page backgrounder on U.S. international energy finance ahead of the COP27 Deadline to Stop Funding Fossils. From 2010 to 2021, the United States’ major trade and development finance institutions, the U.S. Export Import Bank (EXIM) and U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), provided almost five times as much support to fossil fuels as to renewables – USD 51.6 billion compared to USD 10.9 billion. Since taking office, the Biden-Harris Administration have made a series of commitments, executive orders, and guidances towards ending this international public finance for fossil fuels. Unfortunately, the administration’s actions have yet not matched their promises on ending these influential financial flows that prolong the fossil fuel era. In this briefing, Friends of the Earth USA review what is known about the current U.S. policy guidance, unpack trends in recent energy finance from EXIM and DFC, identify specific fossil fuel projects and loopholes that appear to be under consideration, and make recommendations for how the U.S. can still implement their commitments with integrity and on time. Most critically, Biden’s interim guidance detailing how these promises will be implemented has not been made publicly available since it was put in place in December 2021, and it appears to leave substantial loopholes open for continued support for gas and oil. The Biden-Harris Administration can avoid undermining international progress on this issue by releasing a publicly available policy that fully ends international public finance for fossil fuels by COP27 in November.


Italy pushes to weaken European fossil fuel financing pledge

(Reuters, Brussels, 2 November 2022) Italy is attempting to weaken a pledge 10 European governments intend to make to stop export credit support for fossil fuel projects. The pressure from Italy comes as delegates from nearly 200 countries prepare for a United Nations climate change summit next week in Egypt, where world leaders will attempt to agree tougher action to tackle global warming. A group of ministers planned to make a joint statement on November 3rd committing to end public trade and export finance support for overseas fossil fuel projects by the end of 2022. The countries, which together make up the "Export Finance for Future" group, are Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Britain. [Delays in the statement's release point to controversial negotiations.] A draft of the governments' statement, seen by Reuters, said they would agree to end new direct official trade and export finance support for "exploration, production, transportation, storage, refining, distribution of coal, crude oil, natural gas, and unabated power generation". Three sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters Italy had asked to remove the list specifying which fossil fuel activities would lose such support. "Italy objects that there is no consistency between the objective of achieving strategic autonomy from Russia and the impossibility of financing the necessary infrastructure," an official briefed on Rome's position told Reuters. Italy's export credit agency SACE declined to comment. As countries attempt to balance fighting climate change with their short-term response to the energy crisis, some - including Germany - have suggested new investments in gas fields are needed. Countries are still negotiating the draft statement, which could change before it is published. Italy was the biggest backer of fossil fuels within the group, committing 8.4 billion euros in the period - with downstream oil and gas projects and gas-fuelled power plants among the projects. Italy is also moving to keep a Lukoil-owned refinery in business despite new sanctions against Russia kicking in next month.  On September 30 the European Commission approved, under EU State aid rules, a €2 billion Italian scheme for the reinsurance of natural gas and electricity trade credit risk in the context of Russia's war against Ukraine. A hard right coalition that includes pro-Russian voices just took power in Italy after running a campaign focused on energy costs and inflation.


German ECA supported defense system for Egypt diverted to Ukraine

(Military Africa, Nigeria, 13 October 2022) Germany has sent a consignment of IRIS-T surface-to-air defence system initially meant for Egypt to Ukraine to protect critical assets following the Russian invasion of the country. Egypt paid for the IRIS-T air defence system in 2019 after Germany’s Bundestag’s Budget Committee gave its approval for an export credit guarantee for six A-200 vessels, thereby clearing a path for the frigate deal to go ahead. The export credit provides guarantees of up to 2.3 billion euros for the transaction.


Korean Eximbank holds OECD Environmental and Social Practitioners' Meeting

(Korea Times, Soeul, 24 October 2022) The Export-Import Bank of Korea (Eximbank) is holding a meeting of environmental and social practitioners October 24-25 to help address environmental and social issues when providing officially supported export credits. Eximbank is co-hosting the 46th OECD Environmental and Social Practitioners' Meeting in Seoul jointly with the Korea Trade Insurance Corporation. The meetings have been held at the OECD headquarters in Paris in the first half of each year, while the meetings for the second half are held in one of the member countries. Around 50 experts from 25 OECD member countries are participating, sharing ideas to evaluate the environmental and social impact of projects and policies and practices related to due diligence where official export credit support is requested, as well as minimizing such impact. A Korean Eximbank employee was appointed in 2018 as chair of the OECD Working Party on Export Credits and Credit Guarantees, an entity established in 1963 under the Trade Committee of the OECD


South Korean ECAs challenged during National Assembly session about Barossa Project

(Friends of the Earch US, Washington, 24 October 2022) During the annual National Assembly audit this month, Korea Export-Import Bank (KEXIM) and Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (K-SURE) were questioned by assembly members on their decision to finance the Barossa gas project in Australia. The Barossa project, spearheaded by Australia’s Santos and Korea’s SK E&S, was recently ordered to halt drilling after the Australian Federal Court decided Traditional Owners had not been properly consulted. While both KEXIM and K-SURE have approved a total of USD 660 million (KRW 800 billion) of additional financing for the project, the financial deal has not been closed yet. During this year’s National Assembly audit session, K-SURE was reprimanded for violating international environmental regulations and was questioned on the Ministry of Environment’s greenwashing ruling around SK E&S’ advertisements about Barossa gas. K-SURE stated that it screened the project in accordance with international guidelines and Australian law. It also claimed that if Santos loses its Barossa drilling appeal heard at the Australian Federal Court, it will likely decide whether to proceed with its financing. A hearing from a National Assembly member revealed that K-SURE was aware of the lack of Indigenous consultation but relied on the words of project owners and commercial banks supporting the gas project, showing a passive review process in deciding to provide billions of wons' worth of taxpayer money. With continued criticism from assembly members, the Chairman of K-SURE stated that the agency will comprehensively review various risks associated with the project before deciding whether to extend the expiration date of its financing approval, which is January 2023.  Environmental activists have continued to demand the cancellation of public financing toward the Barossa gas project.

Trade unions call for a just net-zero aviation transition including ECA support for aviation finance

(IndustriALL, Geneva, 14 October 2022) International and European trade unions welcome a new global agreement for net-zero carbon aviation emissions by 2050, but call for stronger commitments at country level, including on social criteria. No worker or region should be left behind, we need a Just Transition for all! In the run up to the September 2022 41st General Assembly of ICAO, unions worked together to draft joint trade union demands. The working paper submitted to ICAO by trade unions called for a Just Transition for a zero-carbon future which emphasised the need for the decarbonisation of the aviation industry to be managed in a socially responsible way. It called for quality social dialogue, investment into training and the creation of sectoral action plans by social partners with the relevant authorities. In March 2021, unions pointed out that airline passenger demand fell 65% in 2020 compared to the previous year and the demand for commercial aerospace products had also fallen dramatically, resulting in hundreds of thousands of workers in the sectors beening laid off and noting that export credit agency support was critical for restoring employment levels.


Cesce and Alstom sign a strategic agreement to promote green exports

(WebWire, Atlanta, 12 October 2022) Cesce, the Spanish Export Credit Agency, will support France's Alstom Group’s export activities focused on green projects with a dedicated amount of €500 million. -The agreement seeks to strengthen and consolidate the Spanish railway industrial footprint, in which Alstom is a key player with more than 3,000 employees in Spain and a volume of local purchases close to 700 million euros in the last year. The agreement provides for an overall annual maximum of €500 million and will be reviewed on a yearly basis, depending on the evolution of employment levels, investment and exports of Alstom Group companies in Spain. The agreement's scope focuses on green operations, in line with Cesce’s climate change policy, the importance of promoting sustainable mobility initiatives and the need to boost digitalisation and sector transformation for a decarbonised future.


Loss of ECA finance harms lower impact deep water oil and gas says offshore chief

(UpStream Online, Oslo, 3 October 2022) The world needs to put the right emphasis onto the security aspect of energy policy, with deep-water oil and gas developments playing a key role in this reset, Bruno Chabas, head of Dutch floating production giant SBM Offshore told an audience at the Rio Oil & Gas event on Tuesday. Deep-water developments are one of the segments that can best respond to the global demand for hydrocarbons with lower break-even, lower environmental impact and lower carbon intensity, he argued. Investment levels for oil and gas are recovering somewhat after declining drastically, Chabas said, but he warned that financing will continue to face constraints such as the decision by the European Union and other key countries to end any access to export credit agency (ECA) financing for fossil fuels. “If ECAs are unable to finance oil and gas projects, this just leaves the commercial banks, but they too want to be on the side of decarbonisation,” Chabas said. Deep-water oil production currently runs at about 8.3 million barrels per day, representing 8% of global output, with Brazil representing about 36% of that. [The relative dangers and advantages of offshore vs onshore drilling is a controversial subject.]


GTR: Export finance in a post-pandemic world

(Global Trade Review, London, 26 October 2022) After a period of unprecedented disruption, the export finance market is now firmly focused on recovery, growth and innovation. The latest edition of GTR’s annual export finance roundtable gathered a group of regional and global industry heads to discuss the evolving role of export credit agencies (ECAs), changing patterns around claims, and the ever-growing importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) reforms. This piece provides a twelve page GTR report/summary of a 7 person roundtable. In another GTR review, they note that in the wake of the pandemic, export credit agencies shifted their offerings and increased their exposure to domestic transactions. Some are now looking to regear these programmes to support wider government policies, such as bolstering manufacturing or tackling the climate crisis. As they do so, concerns are growing about over-concentration in certain sectors and the neglect of developing markets.


Russia may start providing ECA finance to importers of its grain

(Reuters, Moscow, 3 October 2022) Russia may start providing trade finance to importers of its grain as sanctions imposed on Moscow since it sent troops to Ukraine affect this financial instrument, Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev said. Russia, the world's largest wheat exporter, is working with Russia's Eximbank and the Russian agency for export credit and investment insurance "to provide financing to foreign companies for the purchase of our products", Patrushev told the RBC business daily. Speaking about farmers being among those drafted into the military in Russia's partial mobilisation at a busy time in the sowing season, Patrushev said his ministry would make efforts to ensure the smooth running of the farming industry.


Ukraine calls on banks to support exports through new ECA mechanisms

(GMK Center, 30 September 2022) The Ministry of Economy calls on banks to support Ukrainian exports of goods, works and services during the war, using the products of the Export Credit Agency (ECA). The Ministry, together with the National Bank, developed a mechanism that allows issuing affordable loans for the implementation of export contracts without collateral under ECA insurance coverage. The agency launched the portfolio insurance mechanism for loans issued for the export contracts execution in June 2022. Today, financial support for export-oriented businesses is provided by Oschadbank, Ukrgasbank and Ukreximbank. As the first deputy prime minister – Minister of Economy Yulia Sviridenko noted, they have already financed the insurance of 24 loan contracts for UAH 70 million (US$1.9 m), which made it possible to export UAH 323.5 million (US$8.76 m). As GMK Center reported earlier, Ukraine expects to receive an additional $12.3 billion in financial support from the United States.


Brazilian ECA to fund Embraer aircraft exports to SkyWest

Brazilian state development bank BNDES and planemaker Embraer SA (EMBR3.SA) have entered a deal for the lender to fund exports of six E-175 jets to U.S.-based carrier SkyWest Inc (SKYW.O), the bank's managing director told Reuters. Bruno Aranha said in an interview that the loan was modeled as a post-shipment export credit, through which BNDES will fund the exports and SkyWest assume the debt. Aranha said the bank could also help funding exports of Embraer's KC-390 military aircraft ahead, though noting that such deals could take longer to be completed as they would involve foreign nations and their public sectors.


Saudi Electricity Company lands Swedish ECA backed finance for Egypt electricity interconnection

(Global Trade Review, London, 28 September 2022) Saudi Electricity Company has signed a US$566.4mn export ECA backed facility agreement with Standard Chartered Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation to support a Saudi Arabia-Egypt electricity interconnection project. The 14-year financing is guaranteed by the Swedish Export Credit Agency (EKN) and funded by the Swedish Export Credit Corporation (SEK). The landmark facility is structured on the concept of commodity murabaha – a cost-plus-profit arrangement which complies with Islamic finance standards. Coming after the two countries signed US$1.8bn worth of contracts in Cairo last year to build transmission plants and connect power grids, the electricity interconnection project is the first large-scale, high-voltage direct current interconnection between the Middle East and North Africa. Once completed, the project will allow Saudi Arabia and Egypt to exchange up to 3,000 MW of power.


What's New September 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.

  • France restricts oil & gas finance to meet climate commitments, piling pressure on Germany USA Canada to follow suit
  • Sweden restricts ECA fossil fuel finance to deliver on climate commitment
  • Berne Union report warns of dwindling risk appetite over Ukraine related claims
  • Ukraine seeks $400 billion for foreign investment & export credit
  • U.S. EXIM Bank  Ukraine pledge cooperation on financing reconstruction
  • EXIM strategy: Climate change,  China, OECD ECA backsliding challenge competitiveness
  • Sri Lanka’s Chinese debt making international headlines
  • China’s no new coal power overseas pledge one year on
  • EU challenges China’s Belt and Road with €300bn Global Gateway
  • Iranian & Russian ECAs ink agreement to facilitate trade
  • India has $5 bn new export opportunity in Russia
  • US exports face empty container pile-up as supply chains recover
  • The role of ECAs in financing the transition to net zero
  • TFG partners with UKEF and DIT to create a trade and export finance guide
  • Chilean firm to receive Korean ECA $100 million fund for stable Australian lithium supply to South Korean firms

France restricts oil & gas finance to meet climate commitments, piling pressure on Germany, USA, Canada to follow suit

(Oil Change International, Washington, 26 September 2022) the French Government has published a new policy that restricts public finance for fossil fuels from the French export credit agency, BPIFrance. This policy is meant to implement France’s commitment to end international public finance for fossil fuels by the end of 2022, which it made at the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow last year along with 38 other countries and financial institutions (The Glasgow Statement). The French Development Agency (AFD), which is also subject to the Glasgow commitment, had already adopted a near-complete fossil fuel exclusion in 2019. The policy – which will be enacted in law through the French Government’s budget – is a landmark win for French campaigners who have been calling for an end to French export finance for fossil fuel projects for years. In addition, it builds pressure on fellow Glasgow Statement signatories to keep their promise and announce their Glasgow-compliant policies by the upcoming COP27 UN Climate Conference in Egypt. So far, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden and now France have published policies to implement their Glasgow commitment. The new policy implements a commitment made at last year’s UN Climate Conference to end almost all French government-backed financing for international fossil fuel projects, responsible for €9.3bn in public finance for oil and gas between 2009 and 2019


Sweden restricts ECA fossil fuel finance to deliver on climate commitment

(Oil Change International, Washington, 20 September 2022) At the COP26 United Nations Climate Conference in Glasgow, 39 countries and institutions signed up to the Glasgow Statement, committing themselves to ending “new direct public support for the international unabated fossil fuel energy sector by the end of 2022, except in limited and clearly defined circumstances that are consistent with a 1.5°C warming limit and the goals of the Paris Agreement.” The initiative has the potential to shift $39 billion a year out of fossil fuel projects and into clean energy if countries keep their promises. As the deadline for implementing the Statement looms, the Swedish export credit agencies, SEK and EKN, have released an updated policy. A previously-released policy aligned Swedfund – the Swedish development finance institution – with the Glasgow Statement.


Berne Union report warns of dwindling risk appetite over Ukraine related claims

(Global Trade Review, London, 31 August 2022) Rising geopolitical risk is driving up demand for export credit insurance, says a new Berne Union study, which warns that the market is bracing for a wave of Ukraine-related claims. According to the association’s latest ‘Business Confidence Index’ report, providers of short, as well as medium and long-term credit and political risk insurance, have seen “strong” levels of demand this year. The quarterly analysis, based on a survey of the Berne Union’s more than 80 members – including export credit agencies, private credit insurers and multilateral financial institutions – reveals that requests for short-term cover have been especially robust. “Payment delays directly caused by the war are materialising for some insurers and there is a general expectation that liquidity constraints and higher interest rates will lead to increasing insolvencies in the third quarter,” the report says. In a world where roughly 15% of trade is protected by insurance, eyes are often on the trade credit insurance stage.


Ukraine seeks $400 billion for foreign investment & export credit

(Pipa News, Pakistan,7 September 2022) Ukraine has begun attracting foreign investment of up to $400 billion in projects across the economy, even as it faces a protracted war with Russia and a slump in production. The Kiev government has identified hundreds of technology, agribusiness, clean energy, defense, metallurgy and natural resources initiatives that it hopes will attract international investors, backed by loan guarantees and insurance from Western donors. Ukrainian officials recognize that Western investors need protection. They want access to World Bank war risk insurance products and Western export credit institutions to provide guarantees.


U.S. EXIM Bank, Ukraine pledge cooperation on financing, reconstruction

(Reuters, Washington, 30 August 2022) The head of the EXIM and a senior Ukrainian development minister have pledged to keep working on U.S. financing opportunities to support Ukraine's energy security and infrastructure, the export credit agency said. The meeting between EXIM Chair Reta Jo Lewis and Ukrainian Minister for Communities and Territories Development Oleksiy Chernyshov came exactly a year after EXIM and Ukraine signed a memorandum of understanding to identify $3 billion in EXIM-supported export financing projects for Ukraine, including road, rail and energy infrastructure. In March, less than a month after Russia's invasion started, EXIM and its fellow export credit agencies in Britain and Canada withdrew all new export credit support for Russia and Belarus.


EXIM strategy: Climate change, China, OECD ECA backsliding challenge competitiveness

TFX, London, 14 September 2022) The most recent edition of US EXIM’s Competitiveness Report makes plain that although US EXIM medium- and long-term support has grown since obtaining a quorum in 2019, much more must be done to advance America’s export competitiveness in an era of volatility and crowded competition. Released at the end of June, there were few surprises in the focus of the 55th edition of US EXIM’s Competitiveness Report – in short, climate change and US exporters facing increased competition from Chinese companies backed by historic levels of their government’s financing. But if the focus was no surprise, the wider scope of the challenges facing US EXIM was. The key point is that China is not US EXIM’s only problem. By not complying with OECD rules China has induced other countries to follow suit, skewing the competitive landscape. Indeed, many European ECAs have extended and developed their pandemic flexibility, offering new and innovative support for domestic and foreign exporters that don’t necessarily meet the terms of the OECD arrangement. As such US EXIM faces considerable challenges facilitating a level playing field.


Sri Lanka’s Chinese debt making international headlines

(The Island, Colombo, 9 September 2022) Sri Lanka’s debt to China is making headlines in international and local media again. Media reports partly blame China and its lending practices, for Sri Lanka’s debt crisis, says a Verité Research media release. It said: The publication titled: “The Lure of Chinese Loans: Sri Lanka’s experiment with a special framework to finance its infrastructure” sheds light on the perils of creating frameworks to facilitate deviations from competitive bidding to tap into concessional export credit from emerging economies such as China. The report analyses the design and execution of the special framework and finds that the lack of rigour in the evaluation process and the ability of decision-makers to exercise excessive discretion made the framework highly prone to abuse and misuse.


China’s no new coal power overseas pledge, one year on

(China Dialogue, London (Beijing?), 22 September 2020) Reform of investment and financing models still needed in order to better support green transitions. On 21 September 2021, China’s president, Xi Jinping, told the UN General Assembly via video link that China would increase support for green and low-carbon energy in developing countries, and not build any new coal-fired power projects overseas. China has been a major builder of coal power plants around the world, often providing both the finance and the technology. The Exim Bank of China, the China Development Bank (CDB) and the China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure) are the main state-owned financial institutions funding overseas projects, and as such have been quick to respond to the change in government policy. Exim Bank has successfully issued 3 billion yuan (US$425 million) in green bonds earmarked for clean energy investment. The Green Belt and Road Initiative Center provides research, analyses and information on the policies, economics, environment, sustainability and green finance of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) - also known as Silk Road Initiative. The Green BRI Center is part of the International Institute for Green Finance (IIGF) of the Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE) in Beijing.


EU challenges China’s Belt and Road with €300bn Global Gateway

(Business News East, Berlin, 2 December 2021) The European Commission on December 1 revealed details of the EU’s €300bn ($340bn) Global Gateway Strategy, a global investment plan hailed as a "true alternative" to China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, or B&R). China has funded railways, roads and ports as BRI projects but it has come under fire from critics who say Beijing leaves some countries weighed down with loans they cannot hope to pay off. A centre-piece of Chinese foreign policy, BRI is accused of spreading “debt-trap diplomacy”. Critics of Global Gateway say in many ways it amounts to a repackaging of cash. As China pushes back against claims of "debt-trap diplomacy", the European Commission thinks it can sell Global Gateway as a "trusted brand".


Iranian & Russian ECAs ink agreement to facilitate trade

(Tehran Times, Tehran, 10 September 2022) The Export Guarantee Fund of Iran (EGFI) has signed an agreement with the Russian Agency for Export Credit and Investment Insurance (EXIAR) with the aim of facilitating exports and providing the necessary guarantees for the development of trade between the two countries. According to Peyman-Pak of Iran's Trade Promotion Organization,, the agreement is signed with the aim of helping the traders of the two countries to use export insurance as an alternative to letters of credit (LC) and to reduce the risk of trade between the two countries. Emphasizing that the agreement has no credit limit and the signatories can issue guarantees up to one billion dollars, Peyman-Pak said: “This achievement has been made in line with the efforts of Trade Promotion Organization and Export Guarantee Fund of Iran to facilitate trade between the two countries of Iran and Russia.” It is not know if this agreement could include cover for Iran's alledged sale of military drones to Russia.


India has $5 bn new export opportunity in Russia

(Fortune India, Gurugram, 15 September 2022) With Europe maintaining trade sanctions on Russia, India has the potential to export $5 billion worth of goods to Russia in the next 12 months, A Shakhtivel, President, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) has said. The export demand is high and supplies can start as soon as the rupee payment mechanism gets operationalised, he added. Russia now accounts for 18% of India’s crude imports; up from 1%  The ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict may open up a $22.5 billion worth export opportunity across 83 commodities for India, says an analysis carried out by MVIRDC World Trade Centre, Mumbai.


US exports face empty container pile-up as supply chains recover

(Global Trade Review, London, 21 September 2022) Analysts are warning that ports in North America could become overwhelmed by a build-up of empty containers, as trans-Pacific supply chains and transportation times gradually return to pre-pandemic levels. The average time taken to deliver cargo soared to 112 days in February this year, nearly three times the average before Covid-19 struck, according to Denmark-based research and analysis firm Sea-Intelligence. As of late August, the most recent point for which data is available, that figure had dropped to 88 days.


The role of ECAs in financing the transition to net zero

(Global Policy Journal, Durham, 23 September 2022) There is no net-zero world without a sustainable trading system, and trade finance is estimated to contribute to between 80–90% of all world trade. The first steps toward green ECAs have been taken, with the agreement announced at COP26 to end export credit support of unabated coal-fired power plants and the first net zero commitments to be made by [some] leading ECAs. In the coming months, there is an opportunity for the broader ECA community to step into the net zero-fold and work with private finance, policy makers, scientists, and civil society to accelerate an orderly and just transition to a net zero global economy. Our world depends on it. [Read the full 6 page report here. However, climate scientists warned in 2021 that the concept of net zero is a dangerous trap, noting that  “Net zero” is the point at which any residual emissions of greenhouse gases are balanced by technologies removing them from the atmosphere. This is a great idea, in principle. Unfortunately, in practice it helps perpetuate a belief in technological salvation and diminishes the sense of urgency surrounding the need to curb emissions now.]


TFG partners with UKEF and DIT to create a trade and export finance guide

(Trade Finance Global, London, 6 September 2022) Trade Finance Global (TFG) has partnered with UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK government’s export credit agency, and Department for International Trade (DIT) to produce the UK Trade & Export Finance Guide. The 60-page guide comes against a backdrop of complex geopolitical circumstances and an ever-changing financial landscape. Exploring recent issues, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit, and the current Russia-Ukraine conflict, this guide aims to paint a clearer picture of how to navigate the current economic status of the industry.


Chilean firm to receive Korean ECA $100 million fund for stable Australian lithium supply to South Korean firms

(Aju Business Daily, Seoul, 7 September 2022) Korea Eximbank, an official export credit agency in South Korea, will provide a fund of $100 million to SQM, a Chilean supplier of plant nutrients, iodine, lithium and industrial chemicals, to help ensure a stable supply of lithium for domestic battery and cathode material makers. The fund including $55 million in loans and $45 million in guarantees will be used to invest in SQM's development of lithium mines in Australia and the renovation and expansion of production facilities. SQM, one of the world’s biggest lithium producers, should supply lithium worth about $470 million to South Korean companies for 10 years.


What's New August 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.

  • Ukraine agent claims OECD ECAs complicit in Russian war crimes
  • UK Treasury backs £3bn UKEF finance package for war-torn Ukraine
  • UK unveils critical minerals strategy and UKEF role
  • Iran expected to ink agreement with Russian ECA soon
  • Ukranian ECA supports US$5.6 million in exports
  • Equator Principles Association Issues Due Diligence Guidance Note
  • Berne Union releases latest Business Confidence Survey
  • Korean battery maker secures $2B loan from 3 ECAS
  • Nigeria,  Sun Africa ink US $1.5bn EXIM supported deal for electrification
  • IsDB and ICIEC offer $10.5bn package to ease global food crisis
  • TNG receives AU$200M K-Sure conditional debt facility for Mt Peake mine
  • Ugandan Banks seek to establish Shs1 trillion export credit facility

Ukraine agent claims OECD ECAs complicit in Russian war crimes

(Bloomberg, London, 23 August 2022) Through their little-known trade finance agencies, Germany, Italy and France have been among the biggest backers of Russian oil, gas and petrochemical development in the last several years, helping to enrich and insulate the country as it prepared to invade Ukraine. Since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 through late 2021, German, Italian and French export-credit agencies guaranteed almost $13 billion in financing for projects in Russia, according to exclusive data compiled by the Global Strategic Communications Council, a nonprofit, worldwide network of climate experts. German and Italian state-owned banks lent a further $425 million. Many of the projects that received funding have ties to sanctioned individuals, including Leonid Mikhelson, Russia’s second-richest person, and Gennady Timchenko, a close associate of Vladimir Putin. Germany and Italy arranged $4 billion in guarantees tied to Russia’s largest natural-gas processing plant, run by Gazprom PJSC, which was sanctioned in February. The five institutions — Euler Hermes, SACE, Bpifrance Assurance Export, KfW-IPEX Bank and Cassa Depositi e Prestititi — told Bloomberg they stopped new cover for or loans to Russian projects after the invasion of Ukraine, and said they were in compliance with applicable sanctions. Many export-credit agencies operate without much public scrutiny. They typically provide credit guarantees, loans and insurance to domestic companies doing business in riskier parts of the world. French, Italian and German firms probably would have stayed out of Russia over the past decade without that backing, said Marcos Alvarez, head of insurance for global financial institutions at DBRS Morningstar, a credit-ratings agency. “These public finance institutions have made their governments complicit in Putin’s war crimes, filling Russia’s war chest and helping the Kremlin secure new export routes for its blood oil and gas,” Oleg Ustenko, Ukraine’s chief economic adviser said.


UK Treasury backs £3bn UKEF finance package for war-torn Ukraine

(Sky News, London, 3 August 2022) The UKEF credit facilities comprise up to £2.3bn for the financing of military contracts identified by the Ukrainian government, with the remaining £700m earmarked for reconstruction projects. Insiders speculated that companies such as BAE Systems and Babcock International were likely to be among those signing individual contracts with UKEF. Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi's backing for the deal is contingent upon the resolution of legal questions relating to "the compatibility of these facilities with our international subsidy control obligations". "Clearly Ukraine is a high-risk market in which to operate commercially, and we must acknowledge the risk of losses is significant," he wrote. "UKEF must also therefore continue to mitigate against Exchequer losses as far as is reasonably possible." The chancellor added that all individual contracts would also require Treasury approval. In March, International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan wrote to Louis Taylor, UKEF chief executive, instructing the agency to maintain its £3.5bn "market limit" for the country. Although the £3bn support is modest in the context of Ukraine's military and reconstruction needs, it underlines Britain's central role in providing internationally support to the country. A source close to UKEF said it had so far provided £23m in financial guarantees to Ukraine, including support for a commercial shipment of COVID-19 tests to the country's Ministry of Health before the Russian invasion. The Treasury and UKEF both declined to comment on the new credit facilities. The Council of the European Union, which represents the bloc's 27 individual member states, has agreed to send €1 billion ($1 billion) in financial aid to Ukraine as Russia's invasion intensifies. On August 28, Josep Borrell, Vice-President of the European Commission, noted that the E.U. has financed the delivery of military support to Ukraine to enable Ukraine to fight back, providing humanitarian support and macro-financial assistance, to keep the Ukrainian state afloat. In total, € 9.5 billion have been mobilised by Team Europe so far, with up to €8 billion in additional macro-financial assistance in the pipeline. The Biden administration is set to announce it will give Ukraine an additional $3bn worth of arms on the country’s independence day. The US has so provided $10.6bn in military help for Ukraine since the Russian invasion. It is not known if the U.S. Exim has been involved in any of these arms deals. Reuters notes that, per Ukrinform, Sweden will provide another $46.75 million in military aid to Ukraine.


UK unveils critical minerals strategy and UKEF role

(Global Compliance News, London, 7 August 2022) On 22 July 2022, the UK government published a policy paper entitled “Resilience for the future: The UK’s critical minerals strategy” (UKCMS). The UKCMS outlines how the UK will secure critical mineral supply chains to ensure the energy transition. It also sets out the UK state support for domestic production of critical minerals as well as enabling the supply from third-party nations. Global transition to energy systems powered by clean energy technologies is one of the biggest transformational changes that the world is undergoing right now and is driving demand for minerals that are vital in the manufacturing of such technologies. A significant amount of state support and private investment into the critical minerals sector is required to match the demand with the supply. State support will focus on enabling the supply from third-party nations by making funding or other types of support available, with export credit agencies playing a key role. UKCMS also highlights the importance of the UKEF for funding critical minerals and expressly states that UKEF products can support eligible critical mineral projects, including UK-based projects with potential to export or overseas projects that present opportunities for export of UK goods and services.


Iran expected to ink agreement with Russian ECA soon

(Tehran Times, Tehran, 26 August 2022) The Head of Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) has urged Russia to take the necessary measures for signing an agreement between Export Guarantee Fund of Iran and the Russian Agency for Export Credit and Investment Insurance (EXIAR) in the coming weeks. He also announced Iran's readiness to establish banking relations with Eximbank of Russia and emphasized that Iran is ready to use all the banking capacities of the two countries in order to facilitate the financial transactions between the two sides in a meeting with Director-General of Russian Export Center Veronika Nikishina in Moscow. Nikishina for her part welcomed the Iranian side’s proposals, saying: “We gladly join the actions and decisions that are being made because we want to create acceptable conditions for expanding business in a competitive financial environment.”  Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported on August 29 that Russian cargo planes quietly picked up the first of scores of Iranian-made combat drones for use against Ukraine, in a move that underscores deepening ties between Moscow and Tehran while also highlighting Russia’s struggles to supply its overstretched military. The Financial Tribune of Iran reported on August 30 that a 125-strong business delegation from Russia made up of representatives of 78 companies are scheduled to visit Tehran from Sept. 19-21 to meet their Iranian counterparts and survey ways of expanding bilateral cooperation.


Ukranian ECA supports US$5.6 million in exports

(CableFree TV, London, 25 August 2022) Under a special program for loans to exporters, banks have provided 14 loans for an amount of 33.2 million UAH.(US$895,000) supported by the Export Credit Agency of Ukraine. Another 12 agreements worth US$1.47 M are awaiting signature. The ECA’s partner banks have supported the issuance of an additional 8 loans under simplified collateral requirements under a special exporter loan program under martial law. It is noted that entrepreneurs from the regions of Ivano-Frankivsk, Rivne, Kiev, Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye and Chernivtsi have received loans. They export paper bags, wooden products, solid fuel boilers, parquet boards, furniture parts, furniture, rubber products and foodstuffs. According to the ECA, the export contracts received for the implementation of: loansthe total amount of supported exports will exceed US$5,5 M. As reported, in March the Verkhovna Rada generally passed a law to ensure a large-scale expansion of the export of goods (works, services) of Ukrainian origin through insurance, guarantees and cheaper loans. The document provides for ensuring the effective functioning of the export credit institution.


Equator Principles Association Issues Due Diligence Guidance Note

(JD Supra, Sausalito, 23 August 2022) In July 2022, the Equator Principles Association published a Guidance Note on how to apply the latest iteration of the Equator Principles (EP), EP4, during the Environmental and Social Due Diligence (ESDD) process. The Guidance Note is significant because it addresses the changes to the pre-financial close ESDD required to be undertaken by Independent Environmental and Social Consultants (IESCs) under EP4, including with respect to projects located in Designated Countries that are no longer “deemed in compliance” with the Equator Principles solely by virtue of satisfying host country law. The E&S standards applied by export credit agencies (ECAs) and development finance institutions (DFI) do not generally distinguish between Designated Countries and Non-Designated Countries. As such, if ECAs or DFIs are involved in the financing of a project, then the scope of the IESC’s ESDD should be the same regardless of whether the project is located in a Designated Country or a Non-Designated Country.


Berne Union releases latest Business Confidence Survey

(Trade Finance Global, London, 26 August 2022) The Berne Union released its latest Business Confidence Survey this week amid mounting geopolitical uncertainty. This latest rendition of the quarterly report shows that demand for export credit insurance is growing. This phenomenon appears to stem from heightened geopolitical risk around the world and the overall bleak economic outlook. Paul Heaney, Acting Secretary General at Berne Union, said, “Right now, geopolitical risk is pushing up demand, while the fragile economic environment ultimately means more expensive finance and less underlying trade and investment activity.”


Korean battery maker secures $2B loan from 3 ECAS

(Reuters, Seoul 19 August 2022) South Korea's SK On battery maker has raised about 2 trillion won ($1.51 billion) from private equity firms, pushing the electric vehicle (EV) battery maker's valuation to around 20 trillion won as it works to expand production abroad, local media reported on Thursday. The battery unit of energy group SK Innovation Co Ltd (096770.KS) has been in talks with a local private equity consortium the Korea Economic Daily Newspaper said, citing unidentified investment banking sources. Last month, SK On secured a $2 billion loan from three export credit agencies to finance its factory in Hungary. In other news, Hyundai Mobis announced on Aug. 22 that Hyundai Motor Group (HMG) and LG Energy Solution have secured US$710 million to finance the construction of a battery cell joint venture plant in Indonesia. Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Corp., Hyundai Mobis and LG Energy Solution provided debt guarantees according to their stake, and the Korea Trade Insurance Corp., a state-run export credit institution, provided credit guarantees.


Nigeria, Sun Africa ink US $1.5bn EXIM supported deal for electrification

(Pumps Africa, Nairobi, 16 August 2022) The government of Nigeria and Sun Africa have inked a deal to reduce the gap in access to electricity between the country’s urban and rural areas through the extension of the national electricity grid in underserved states. The two are set to partner and install solar energy production systems in a dozen localities poorly served by the national electricity network. As part of this energy policy, the authorities of this West African country have obtained a loan of US $1.5bn from the American export credit agency Exim Bank. With a gross domestic product (GDP) of 432.3 billion dollars in 2020 according to the World Bank, Nigeria, as the largest economy in Africa, has an electricity access rate of 60%, of which only 34% is in rural areas. 85 million people do not have access to electricity.


IsDB and ICIEC offer $10.5bn package to ease global food crisis

(Trade Arabia, Jeddah, 30 July 2022) The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group has endorsed a $10.54 billion comprehensive Food Security Response Program (FSRP) package that will support member countries in addressing the ongoing food crisis. The package was approved during an extraordinary joint meeting of the IsDB Board of Executive Directors, the Board of Directors of the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD), and the Board of Directors of the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC). The primary focus of the programme and the bulk of the financing envelope of the remaining $7.3 billion, which will span over the next three years, will be on developing innovative medium- and long-term interventions to address structural weaknesses and root causes of food insecurity in the member states. These include low productivity, rural poverty, climate change, and weak resilience of regional and national agricultural and food systems through six (6) key initiatives: (i) building agricultural resilience to climate change; (ii) food and input value-chains; (iii) smallholders' productivity and market access; (iv) rural livelihood support; (v) livestock and fisheries development; and (vi) building resilient food supply systems. The total IsDB Group's financing support for agriculture and food security currently stands at $20.6 billion, comprising 1,538 operations.


TNG receives AU$200M K-Sure conditional debt facility for Mt Peake mine

(Kalkine Media, Sidney, 9 August 2022) One of the leading Australian resource and mineral processing technology companies, TNG Limited (ASX:TNG) has secured a major cornerstone component of the multi-source, global funding package for its Mount Peake Vanadium-Titanium-Iron Project in the Northern Territory. In the latest development, TNG has received a conditional debt funding of AU$200 million (US$138 M) from the Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (K-Sure), which is the official export credit agency of South Korea under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. This debt funding is for TNG’s flagship Mount Peake Project, as per the terms of a conditional Letter of Support.


Ugandan Banks seek to establish Shs1 trillion export credit facility

(East Africa Monitor, Kampala, 29 July 2022) Banks are in advanced stages of launching a Shs1 trillion export credit facility to support manufacturers involved in export within East Africa. The move, which is being championed by Uganda Bankers Association (UBA), seeks to finance manufacturers increase Ugandan products in regional markets. The export credit facility seeks to plug existing gaps, facilitate production and provide funding to power the entrepreneurial ecosystem through fostering growth and harnessing attendant trickle down benefits.