What's New April 2021

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.

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  • CSOs say newly launched export finance coalition (E3F) fails to lead
  • OECD Arrangement amends local content rules for export credits
  • Rich nations under fire for funding gas as 'bridge fuel' overseas
  • UK court to review Mozambique fossil fuel investment
  • Biden Administration to Utilize EXIM as Key Element in New International Climate Finance Plan
  • Canada’s oil and gas sector received $13 billion in EDC subsidies during the pandemic
  • Beijing and New Delhi court Indian Ocean armies with ECA loans
  • Tell EXIM: Cut ties with India's deadly Sasan coal plant
  • US climate summit declarations deal major blow to coal in Asia
  • China Is Investing in Africa’s Energy and Transportation Infrastructure
  • Boeing Forecasts Sufficient Capital for Aviation Finance
  • Iraqi, GE achieve financial close of Power Up Plan 4
  • Russian president signs law to ratify protocol restructuring Belarusian ECA loan

CSOs say newly launched export finance coalition (E3F) fails to lead

(Oil Change International, Washington, 15 April 2011) In response to the launch of a new Export Finance for the Future coalition (E3F), 21 civil society organizations (CSOs) from 14 countries released a statement criticizing the lack of ambition from the coalition. The seven European countries, which according to French Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire represent around 40% of export financing in the OECD, pledged to end formal trade and export financing directed at thermal coal mines and coal supply chain infrastructure. While welcoming the initiative as a step in the right direction, the CSOs, including Oil Change International, state that the coalition fails to take the urgent action that is required to meet climate goals: “Rather than adding new commitments, the E3F principles are simply a reiteration of what most signatories are already doing: not supporting the coal sector, increasing support for ‘green products’, and being more transparent about their support for oil and gas. For this coalition to make a real difference, it needs to take decisive action to end all export finance for fossil fuels, following at least the level of ambition shown by the UK, which put an end to virtually all new export finance for fossil fuels last month.” Seven European countries (Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom) formally pledged to end their support for agencies that finance export projects Fossil fuels. CSOs note that a few countries are embarrassingly absent from the coalition, including the US and Canada. In January, the White House published an Executive Order stating that it would “promote ending international financing of carbon-intensive fossil fuel-based energy,” including finance provided by US EXIM. And while Canada’s export finance institution, Export Development Canada (EDC), was among the first ECAs to adopt a climate change policy, it remains a top provider of export support for fossil fuels.


OECD Arrangement amends local content rules for export credits

(Global Trade Review, London, 27 April 2021) The decision to amend local content rules within the OECD Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits has been hailed as an “important step” in modernising the agreement, though industry figures have raised concerns over a lack of progress in other key areas of discussions. The OECD revealed last week that participating members of the Arrangement – which includes countries in the EU, as well as the US, Japan, Canada and Australia – had agreed to increase the maximum local cost support on offer from their ECAs. For export contracts in high income OECD countries (category one), maximum local cost provisions have risen from 30% of the export contract value to 40%. In all other nations (category two), the percentage of local costs a participating arrangement ECA can cover has been increased to 50%. A high-ranking official in the export credit sector familiar with discussions on the Arrangement, tells GTR that participating members had initially struck an agreement to amend local content rules in November. However, they say that the EU needed time to formally approve the changes as the Arrangement is legally binding in the bloc.


Rich nations under fire for funding gas as 'bridge fuel' overseas

(Thomson Reuters, London, 21 April 2021) Donor governments are pulling out of financing new coal plants, but campaigners say they want pledges to cover all fossil fuels, with gas still touted by some as a way to transition to renewable energy. Pressure on wealthy governments to stop financing polluting coal projects in developing nations is getting results, with more countries announcing they will no longer make such investments. But the battle is far from won - and is now shifting to include oil and gas finance, climate change campaigners say. Last week, 57 U.S. green groups wrote to U.S. climate envoy John Kerry urging him to "unequivocally declare that gas is not part of the solution" and to immediately end all fossil fuel support internationally as well as U.S. exports of fossil fuels "as science and justice require". The move came after Kerry told a discussion with the head of the International Monetary Fund this month that "gas, to some degree, will be a bridge fuel", meaning it could smooth the transition from the dirtiest energy sources - coal and oil - to renewables. Kate DeAngelis of Friends of the Earth noted the new plan to phase out fossil fuel finance did not cover the U.S. Export-Import Bank, the largest source of U.S. government financing for fossil fuel projects abroad. Some 20 environmental organisations said the E3F coalition had made no new commitments and that the Netherlands, France and Britain continued to provide support for gas extraction in violence-hit northern Mozambique, saying the investments had forced communities from their homes after losing their fishing areas and farmland.


UK court to review Mozambique fossil fuel investment

(Africa Times, Roubaix, 22 April 2021) The British government’s investment in developing liquified natural gas (LNG) projects in Mozambique – projects contributing to the conflict and instability in the country’s north – is headed for judicial review following a successful legal filing from the Friends of the Earth. The London-based NGO says the decision to approve funding for LNG was illegal, and wants it reexamined because investment in fossil fuels is inconsistent with both the global climate goals established under the Paris Agreement and the UK’s own climate commitments. The Guardian notes fears that fossil fuel project is stoking an insurgency in the north which has left thousands of people dead and displaced hundreds of thousands. The investment amounts to about US$1 billion through the UK Export Finance (UKEF), the British export credit agency. “We’re delighted the High Court has given us permission to challenge the UK government’s reckless decision to provide huge financial support to a climate-wrecking gas project in Mozambique,” said Will Rundle, head of legal at Friends of the Earth, in a statement released Thursday. French energy giant Total on Monday confirmed it is suspending work on a massive $20 billion gas project in northern Mozambique following the latest jihadist assault on a nearby town last month.  The US is also backing the $20 billion methane gas development. The US Export-Import Bank (Exim) has provided a $4.7bn loan to the project.


Biden Administration to Utilize EXIM as Key Element in New International Climate Finance Plan

(JD Supra, Sausalito, 27 April 2021) On April 22, 2021, President Joe Biden announced his International Climate Finance Plan as a follow up to his January Executive Order 14008 on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. This International Climate Finance Plan reflects the Administration’s desire to double, by 2024, U.S. annual public climate finance to developing countries using as a baseline the average level during the second half of the Obama Administration. The Biden Climate Finance Plan is also supposed to be a boon to U.S. companies, particularly manufacturers of products and technologies viewed as environmentally beneficial. Accordingly, the Export-Import Bank of the United States is expected to play a key role in helping the Administration achieve its stated goals. As the U.S. Government’s official export credit agency, the Ex-Im Bank provides direct loans, loan guarantees, and export credit insurance in support of exports of U.S. goods, services, and technologies. By helping foreign buyers (public and private), Ex-Im Bank fills gaps in private export finance and supports U.S. jobs.


Canada’s oil and gas sector received $13 billion in EDC subsidies during the pandemic

(The Narwal, Victoria, 15 April 2021) Despite repeated promises to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, Canada’s federal government dedicated $18 billion in 2020 to assist the country’s oil and gas sector, according to a new report from Environmental Defence that outlines additional support for the industry since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared last March.  Included in the $18 billion are $3.28 billion in direct spending and $13.6 billion in public financing for oil and gas companies that primarily comes from the opaque crown corporation Export Development Canada, according to the report, Paying Polluters: Federal Financial Support to Oil and Gas in 2020.


Beijing and New Delhi court Indian Ocean armies with ECA loans

(African Intelligence, Paris, 1 April 2021) As China's influence around the Indian Ocean increases, New Delhi is throwing itself wholeheartedly into a diplomatic battle to protect what it considers to be its turf. In March, the Indian Navy trained a group of about fifty members of Madagascar's special forces and India's INS Shardul and Madagascar's MNS Trozona carried out joint naval exercises. During a visit to Mauritius, Indian minister of foreign affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar promised Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth he would establish a $100m export credit for buying Indian military equipment, notably for the acquisition of aircraft and patrol vessels. The two countries also signed an agreement for India to supply a HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) Dhruv utility helicopter, and a patrol aircraft manufactured by Dornier, a HAL subsidiary. In 2016, New Delhi provided Mauritius with a Dornier Do-228 MP aircraft and then two Sarojini Naidu patrol vessels made by Goa Shipyard the following year. Paris is also beefing up military aid to Madagascar as Beijing and New Delhi jostle for influence.


Tell EXIM: Cut ties with India's deadly Sasan coal plant

(Sierra Club, Oakland, 23 April 2021) More than a year has passed since the deadly April 10, 2020 coal ash disaster at the US EXIM-financed Sasan coal plant in Singrauli, India. The coal ash disaster was responsible for the deaths of six people and created a massive flood of coal ash that continues to pollute the water and community land almost a year later. Back in 2015, the Inspector General of EXIM issued a report revealing a stunning 19 fatalities at the facility. This followed a 2014 report from Sierra Club and NGOs that revealed forced resettlements, occupied houses being bulldozed in the middle of the night, labor abuses including employees handling hazardous materials without protection, and rampant environmental contamination of the local community. Since the2015 report, monitoring reports have revealed an additional eight deaths at Sasan, but the actual death count is probably even higher.


US climate summit declarations deal major blow to coal in Asia

(For Our Climate, Seoul, 22 April 2021) Coal in Asia is facing a far more challenging future, with South Korean President Moon Jae-in today pledging to end public overseas coal financing and enhance its 2030 emissions target within this year, and Japan’s Prime Minister Suga committing to toughening emissions cuts at the Leaders Summit on Climate.  South Korea has been called a “climate villain” by the international community for failing to meet unambitious emissions targets and consistently ranking among the world’s top three overseas coal financiers, along with China and Japan. Most recently, the Korean government drew fire for pushing a Green New Deal domestically while its public institutions backed the Jawa 9, 10 coal power projects in Indonesia and Vung Ang 2 coal power project in Vietnam. Prime Minister Suga committed to enhancing Japan’s NDC by 46-50% below 2013 levels by 2030, and China’s President Xi Jinping committed to phasing down coal consumption in the country’s 15th five-year plan period.


China Is Investing in Africa’s Energy and Transportation Infrastructure

(News Ghana, Accra, 9 April 2021) These two articles examine China’s investment policy in Africa that should be read to learn the truth about China’s lending to the continent. One, is a briefing paper from China Africa Research Initiative (CARI) entitled, Twenty Years of Data on China’s Africa Lending. The second is entitled, “Why Substantial Chinese FDI is Flowing into Africa, by Shirly Yu. Combined, both papers provide a thorough analysis of the positive contribution of Chinese investment in Africa, surpassing the United States in all categories. As many African leaders know, without China’s contribution to Africa’s development, especially in infrastructure, Africa would be worse off. There is absolutely no indication that the U.S. and the West would fill that void. The China Africa Research Initiative (CARI) notes that from 2000-2019, China has made $157 billion in loans to Africa. Of these 1,077 loans, 85% have been in categories of infrastructure, of which 65% have been in energy and transportation. Only 13% of Africa’s debt is owed to China. The largest portion of Africa’s debt is owed to multilateral institutions at 32%. The four biggest Chinese banks involved with lending to African countries are China Eximbank, CDB, ICBC, and BOC. China Eximbank–which is China’s official export credit agency, and also the only bank offering government subsidized foreign aid concessional loans–is the largest and since 2000 accounts for 56 percent of all loans.


Boeing Forecasts Sufficient Capital for Aviation Finance

(PR Newswire, Chicago, 14 April 2021) Boeing projects global and diversified funding will continue to flow into the aircraft financing sector as the aviation sector navigates the global pandemic and vaccine deployment continues to accelerate. The 2021 CAFMO reports the aircraft financing environment ended 2020 with enough liquidity to finance deliveries, but with stresses particularly in the bank debt and tax equity markets. At the industry level, commercial aircraft delivery funding volume totaled $59 billion, a 40% decrease from 2019 levels. Aircraft lessors executed a significant volume of sale-leaseback transactions, and the industry-wide leased fleet climbed to 46%. Export credit agencies remain a small but important funding source during the pandemic.


Iraqi, GE achieve financial close of Power Up Plan 4

(Utilities MIddle East, Dubai, 11 April 2021) GE will provide capital and spare parts, repairs and services to 7 Iraqi power plants to help maintain more reliable generation of up to 2.7 gigawatts (GW) of electricity. GE played a key role in bringing the Iraqi Ministries of Finance, Electricity and Planning together with various financial institutions, including export credit agencies, commercial banks and others, to secure financing for the project. This has been facilitated by Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI), the UAE’s Federal export credit company. GE has collaborated with various private and public financial institutions from around the world to help secure over US $2.4 billion in financing since 2015 for energy sector projects across Iraq.


Russian president signs law to ratify protocol restructuring Belarusian ECA loan

(BELTA, Minsk, 29 April 2021) Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed the law to ratify the protocol restructuring the protocol to amend the Belarusian-Russian intergovernmental agreement on the state export credit to the Belarusian government to build a nuclear power plant. During the ratification, it was noted that some $4.7 billion of the $10 billion loan provided for the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant was used as of 1 March this year. According to Russian government estimates, the cost of the construction will be about $6 billion. The protocol contains the following terms for restructuring Belarusian obligations: extension of the loan use period for 2 years - until the end of 2022; postponement of the grace period on the principal from 1 April 2021 to 1 April 2023; replacement of the current mixed interest rate on the loan with the fixed interest rate of 3.3% per annum.