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 November 2019

"What's New!" is a periodic update to keep you informed of the latest on the ECA Watch website. What's New! features a wide range of materials related to the reform of Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) including NGO publications and releases, news articles, commentaries and announcements about the policies and practices of ECAs and ECA-financed projects world-wide.

If you would like to receive "What's New!" simply add your e-mail to the ECA-Action list at www.eca-watch.org today! Questions?

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See all "What's New!" updates since 2005 here.

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

France targets fracking & flaring with ECA guarantee overhaul

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


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

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


The ECA fossil elephant in the Dutch room

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


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

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


AfDB approves $400m loan for Mozambique LNG facility

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


EU Council to host business and human rights conference

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


Dutch Ship Firm Kept Fees Secret

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


Nigeria's Ajaokuta Steel completion to receive Russian ECA support

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


World Bank warns of Kenyan [ECA] debt distress

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


UK judge rules EDC can proceed with sale of Gupta jet

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


What's New October 2019

"What's New!" is a periodic update to keep you informed of the latest on the ECA Watch website. What's New! features a wide range of materials related to the reform of Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) including NGO publications and releases, news articles, commentaries and announcements about the policies and practices of ECAs and ECA-financed projects world-wide.

If you would like to receive "What's New!" simply add your e-mail to the ECA-Action list at www.eca-watch.org today! Questions?

Email info-at-eca-watch.org

See all "What's New!" updates since 2005 here.

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

Climate activists spray UKEF with fake blood

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


Newt Gingrich: EXIM as a political tool against China

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


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

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


SINOSURE reports steady business growth

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


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

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


Australia drops in defence export rankings

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


Korea should stop funding coal power in Indonesia

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


What is the remit of the ICC Global Export Finance Committee

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


EXIM provides loan for natural gas project in Mozambique

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


EXIM signs MoU with Iraq

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


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

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


What's New September 2019

"What's New!" is a periodic update to keep you informed of the latest on the ECA Watch website. What's New! features a wide range of materials related to the reform of Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) including NGO publications and releases, news articles, commentaries and announcements about the policies and practices of ECAs and ECA-financed projects world-wide.

If you would like to receive "What's New!" simply add your e-mail to the ECA-Action list at www.eca-watch.org today! Questions?

Email info-at-eca-watch.org

See all "What's New!" updates since 2005 here.

  • EXIM finances massive LNG project that will cause climate chaos
  • UK Tory donor gets UKEF backing despite major fraud investigation
  • Paltry Climate Finance Provided and Mobilised by ECAs in 2013-17
  • $1.5 trillion global trade finance gap affecting SDG targets
  • 2017 Report to the U.S. Congress on Global Export Credit Competition
  • Export-Import Bank eyes expanded role with LNG sector
  • Will ECAs and Asian banks join the movement to decarbonise shipping
  • OeKB readies debut SRI bond
  • Iridium lands seven-year, $738.5 million Defense Department contract
  • Austrade and Export Finance Australia help defence companies go global
  • Afreximbank okays $500m for Nigerian manufacturers
  • Abu Dhabi's ADFD launches ECA
  • Iran's ECA Covers $1b Exports in 5 Months
  • India, Russia identify new prospects for ECA led cooperation

EXIM finances massive LNG project that will cause climate chaos

(FOE USA, Washington, 27 September 2019) The U.S. Export-Import Bank’s (EXIM) Board of Directors voted late yesterday to provide $5 billion in financing for a liquid natural gas (LNG) project in Mozambique, making it the largest federal subsidy for a fossil fuel project in the bank’s history. This final vote by the board follows a preliminary vote last month and a 35-day Congressional review period. The board’s vote comes as U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) led delegation letters opposing the project. Despite the opposition, EXIM charged forward with this massive fossil fuel project, which EXIM admits will directly emit at least 5.2 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. “EXIM’s irresponsible approval of $5 billion for LNG development in Mozambique, despite Congressional opposition, demonstrates how the bank  puts fossil fuel profits above the health of local communities and the planet,” said Kate DeAngelis, Senior International Policy Analyst at Friends of the Earth. “Congress now has the power to end EXIM’s support for fossil fuels if it chooses to reauthorize the agency.” Although natural gas is often touted as a cleaner fuel than coal, when you take into account the leaks involved in extraction, transportation, processing and burning of LNG it is not better for the climate than coal. Yet, the head of the EXIM board, Kimberly Reed, voiced her strong support for the industry. A 2016 Oxford study found that for the world to have a 50 percent chance of staying within internationally agreed limits for global warming, no new fossil fuel plants could be built after 2017.


UK Tory donor gets UKEF backing despite major fraud investigation

(The Independent, London, 27 September 2019) An oil company run by Ayman Asfari, the chief executive of Petrofac, a major Tory donor who met with Boris Johnson, has had a billion pound deal underwritten by UK Export Finance (UKEF) despite it being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office. Despite the company being embroiled in scandal, it has secured a £733.5m loan guarantee from  UKEF which is responsible for underwriting the loan which helped secure a £1.6bn contract to develop the Duqm refinery project in Oman. According to Electoral Commission figures, Mr Asfari and his wife have donated £860,450 in cash to the party since 2009. Petrofac’s former global head of sales, David Lufkin, pleaded guilty to 11 counts of bribery earlier this year after offering cash payments to middlemen to secure lucrative refinery contracts worth £4.2bn in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. In 2017 the UK Serious Fraud Office launched an investigation into Petrofac relating to suspected bribery, corruption and money laundering. UKEF is not the only ECA supporting this project. The Dutch company Boskalis Westminster Dredging BV received an export credit insurance from Atradius DSB on 15 January 2018 for the “Design, procurement and construction of marine infrastructure and dredging works. Duqm Liquid Bulk Berths project. Port of Duqm, Al Wusta region. The project entails a new liquid bulk terminal to handle the import and export of crude and other hydrocarbons.”


Paltry Climate Finance Provided and Mobilised by ECAs in 2013-17

(OECD, Paris, 13 September 2019) This OECD report estimates annual volumes of climate finance provided and mobilised by developed countries for developing countries in 2013-17. These estimates include bilateral and multilateral public finance, official-supported export credits and mobilised private finance. It is consistent with the outcome of the UNFCCC COP24 on modalities for the accounting of financial resources provided and mobilised through public interventions. Of US$244 billion over 4 years, only 2.8% was provided by ECAs. By contrast, ECAs are one of the largest sources of public financing for fossil fuel projects worldwide, providing billions more for dirty energy than for renewable energy. In so doing, ECAs undercut international efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions including those mentioned above. In 2009 developed countries committed to jointly mobilise USD 100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020 for climate action in developing countries. Insufficient progress in climate change mitigation is driving the climate system into unchartered territory with severe projected consequences.


$1.5 trillion global trade finance gap affecting SDG targets

(Down to Earth, New Delhi, 4 September 2019) A stubbornly high $1.5 trillion global trade finance gap is hampering efforts to achieve the United Nations-mandated sustainable development goals (SDG), especially those pertaining to women’s economic empowerment, job creation and inclusive growth, according to a report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The sixth-edition of the Trade Finance Gap, Growth, and Job Survey released on September 3, 2019, is based on responses from 112 banks from 47 countries, 53 export credit agencies from 17 countries and 336 firms from 68 countries. The large market gap for trade finance has affected women entrepreneurs more than men as they face the most rejection while applying for trade finance to expand their operations. The report showed that applications of 38 per cent male-owned firms were rejected, while for women entrepreneurs it was 44 per cent. Once rejected, 60 per cent women-owned firms were less likely to seek alternative finance.


2017 Report to the U.S. Congress on Global Export Credit Competition

(EXIM, Washington, June 2018) This recently "discovered" 77 page report represents the second consecutive year in which the Competitiveness Report focuses on the changes other export credit agencies (ECAs) are making to enhance their competitiveness and the impact that EXIM’s absence from the LT market is having on the U.S. export community. To these points, the 2017 Competitiveness Report contains the following findings:

  1.  Outside of the United States, ECAs are no longer viewed predominately as transaction-oriented, reactive lenders of last resort. Instead, foreign ECAs are increasingly being “weaponized”—specifically organized and equipped to be maximally flexible and proactive in order to incentivize a shift in sourcing or support trade policy, particularly in key industries.
  2. The continued competitive pressure applied by the scale and flexibility of the Asian ECAs, particularly those from China, feeds the “sea change” in Europe among governments seeking to reinvent export credit support as their economies become more dependent on exports for growth
  3. ECAs are using new programs and flexibilities to compete. Prevalent tools include (a) “pump-priming” programs under which an ECA identifies a foreign company that could import more from the ECA’s country and offers these companies what is essentially a line of credit
  4. The change in stance among ECAs is taking place in a marketplace populated by ever-wider participation from other suppliers of commercial financing
  5. As reported by stakeholders, EXIM’s absence has disproportionately hurt smaller U.S. sub-suppliers along the supply chains of large exporters.

Export-Import Bank eyes expanded role with LNG sector

(S&P Global, Washington, 30 August 2019) The US Export-Import Bank could become a new source of support for US LNG export projects working to secure long-term contracts and financing, according to industry officials involved in recent discussions with the bank leadership. Ex-Im Bank Chairman Kimberly Reed met by teleconference with US LNG trade group officials August 21 to discuss ways the bank could help boost the volume of domestic LNG exports. Whether the bank can successfully expand its role hinges in part on getting attention from Congress to keep the bank fully operating past the end of September when its authorization runs out.


Will ECAs and Asian banks join the movement to decarbonise shipping

(Eco-Business, Singapore, 25 September 2019) Three months ago, 11 international banks including Citi, Société Générale and ING signed a framework to promote responsible ship finance called the Poseidon Principles whose framework will tie shipping finance to climate targets that are in line with the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) goal to halve shipping’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Two state-owned Chinese banks, the Bank of China and Export-Import Bank of China (China Exim), are the biggest lenders to shipping, according to Petrofin Research, which monitors the industry. Other major Asian players include the Export-Import Bank of Korea, China Development Bank and even Singapore’s DBS Bank.


OeKB readies debut SRI bond

(Global Capital, London, 5 September 2019) OeKB, Austria’s export credit agency, will go on roadshow next week to present its recently established sustainability bond framework to European investors. BNP Paribas, Danske Bank, HSBC and UniCredit won the mandate and will arrange a series of fixed income investor meetings across Europe, commencing on Friday, September 13. An inaugural bond in the format is expected to follow. A debut euro benchmark sustainability bond in an intermediate maturity may follow subject to market conditions, which will be OeKB’s first ever socially responsible investment (SRI) bond. Under its sustainability bond framework, OeKB can issue green, social and sustainability bonds. OekB has a long-term annual funding requirement of €5bn, comprising two to three benchmark issues, private placements, medium term notes, and issuance in other strategic markets such as sterling and Australian dollars. It has a focus on maturities of up to 10 years. Sustainability Bonds are bonds where the proceeds will be exclusively applied to finance or re-finance a combination of both Green and Social Projects as defined by the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) guidelines.


Iridium lands seven-year, $738.5 million Defense Department contract

(Space News, 16 September 2019) The U.S. government signed a seven-year $738.5 M agreement with Iridium Communications for unlimited use of the McLean, Virginia-based firm’s mobile communications constellation to ensures continuity for voice, data, broadcast and other services to Defense Department and associated users. Iridium borrowed $1.8 billion in 2010 from a syndicate of banks through a credit facility from BPIAE (formerly Coface), which it used to finance the purchase of 81 satellites from Franco-Italian manufacturer Thales Alenia Space. The company still owes $1.63 billion under the credit facility. Finalization of the EMSS contract would pave the way for Iridium to refinance the French export-credit loans it used to fund its $3 billion second-generation constellation, Iridium Next, that it finished deploying in January.


Austrade and Export Finance Australia help defence companies go global

(Mirage News, 6 September 2019) Government support for Australia’s defence industries is on the increase, as two government agencies extend collaboration. Under the Australian Government’s Defence Export Strategy , Austrade and Export Finance Australia – formerly Efic – are expanding support for Australian defence businesses. With additional co-ordination and resources from the Australian Defence Export Office, the two agencies are working more closely to help Australian defence companies grow overseas. From 1 July 2019, Efic’s trading name changed to Export Finance Australia.

Afreximbank okays $500m for Nigerian manufacturers

(Business AM, Lagos, 4 September 2019) The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has approved a $500 million facility to enable Nigerian manufacturers take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). Benedict Oramah, its president & chairman of board of directors of Afreximbank  said the $500 million facility was aimed at providing financing to Nigerian manufacturers and companies engaged in intra-African trade under the AfCFTA, which implementation begins in 2020. AfCFTA seeks to create a continental trade bloc of 1.2 billion people, with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of about $3 trillion.


Abu Dhabi's ADFD launches ECA

(The National, Abu Dhabi, 9 September 2019) Abu Dhabi has launched an export credit agency that will provide guarantees and finance to overseas buyers of UAE goods and services, as the emirate looks to diversify its economy and develop non-oil revenue lines. Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), an autonomous national entity affiliated with the emirate’s government, will own and operate Abu Dhabi Exports Office (Adex), which was established through consultation with the Export–Import Bank of Korea. The UAE, which accounts for about 4.5 per cent of the global oil production, is transforming its economy by strengthening its non-oil exports to generate new revenue.


Iran's ECA Covers $1b Exports in 5 Months

 (Financial Tribune, Tehran, 1 September 2019) The Export Guarantee Fund of Iran covered non-oil exports worth $1 billion in the first five months of the current fiscal year (started in mid-March), head of EGFI said.The figure shows 60% growth in the export credit agency insurance cover compared to the similar period last year, according to EGFI website.EGFI expects to increase coverage to $2.5 billion by the end of this fiscal year [March 2020), Afrouz Bahrami told a seminar on promoting exports during sanctions. According to media reports, EGFI is able to cover export risk to the tune of $2.3 billion or 5% of the Iran’s $40 billion non-oil export market. She ascribed the significant growth in the performance of EGFI to increase in the number of applications for covering risk emanated from US sanctions, diversification of guarantee services, customizing services to make them compatible with expert requirements and rising promotional activity of the fund.


India, Russia identify new prospects for ECA led cooperation

(Elets Technomedia, Noida Uttar Pradesh, 4 September 2019) With bilateral trade between India and Russia showing a robust growth, growing by 17% to $ 11 billion in 2018 alone, Russian Export Centre (REC) is focusing on providing a wide range of financial and non-financial support in order to realize the full potential of the bilateral trade between the two countries by improving export conditions and leveling existing trade barriers. Russian Agency for Export Credit and Investment Insurance (EXIAR JSC) and ROSEXIMBANK JSC, are the shareholders in REC.