U.S. producers, particularly of capital goods and high tech services, routinely compete for export sales against producers in the G-72 and certain other highly industrialized European countries.3 Robust ECA operations in all these countries share the common goal of increasing opportunities for international trade and may provide the added benefit of helping to create or sustain national employment and expand total economic output in the home country. At times, ECAs also play a role in implementing important national foreign policy objectives. Exporters in newly industrialized countries (NICs), such as Brazil, China, India, and South Korea, have become active competitors for an increased market share of global trade. With support of their official ECAs, producers in these NICs are able to effectively compete for foreign sales against companies that have the support of the long-established ECAs of Europe, the U.S., Canada, and Japan.
Following is a brief description of select official ECAs that often compete for foreign sales:
|AUSTRIA||Oesterreichische Kontrollbank Aktiengesellschaft (OeKB) is a joint stock company established in 1946. Since 1950, OeKB has acted as the Republic of Austria’s agent, administering the sovereign’s guarantee of non-marketable export credit risks. OeKB issues both supplier and buyer credits covering commercial and political risks, as well as pre-shipment coverage.|
|BRAZIL||Banco Nacional do Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES) is a state-owned development bank. A subsidiary, BNDES-exim, provides medium- and long-term guarantees and loans to support Brazilian exports, as well as pre-shipment support. In addition to financing trade, BNDES-exim also finances Brazilian companies’ foreign investment.
Agência Brasileira Gestora de Fundos Garantidores e Garantias S.A. (Brazilian Guarantee Agency or ABGF) is a state-owned company under the control of the Ministry of Finance. ABGF provides guarantees, insurance, and reinsurance for large infrastructure projects. It also conveys the sovereign’s guarantee to BNDES-exim’s obligations. ABGF is a successor to Seguradora Brasileria de Crédito À Exportação S/A (SBCE), which is no longer in operation.
|CANADA||Export Development Canada (EDC) is a self-financing “Crown Corporation”, whose transactions carry the full faith and credit guarantee of the sovereign. EDC operates at arm’s length from the government, but may also place transactions that it cannot support on Account Canada, when the Minister of International Trade determines the transaction to be in the best interest of the nation. EDC’s mandate is to support and develop, both directly and indirectly, Canada’s export trade, as well as Canadian capacity to engage in that trade and respond to international business opportunities. As Canada’s official export credit agency, EDC offers direct loans and short-, medium-, and long-term guarantees and investment financing products.|
|CHINA||The China Development Bank (CDB) is a wholly government-owned joint stock corporation with a controlling interest held by the Ministry of Finance. Over 80% of the CDB’s exposure is related to the role it plays in supporting China’s economic development and urbanization process by financing strategic industries and urban infrastructure construction. The CDB also supports Chinese enterprises in expanding their international operations and collaborates with foreign governments, corporations, and financial institutions on projects in select areas, such as agriculture, infrastructure, energy, and social sectors.
China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure) is a state-owned institution established in 2001 that provides short-, medium-, and long-term export credit insurance and bank guarantees. It also provides political risk insurance on Chinese foreign investment and assists companies with debt collection and risk ratings of foreign counterparties. Additionally, Sinosure offers coverage to foreign companies on their inward investment in China.
The Export-Import Bank of China (CEXIM) was established in 1994 as a policy-oriented bank to provide financing to China’s importers and exporters in key sectors of the economy, such as high tech, and for certain overseas projects and outbound investments. CEXIM is wholly-owned by the Government of China and operates under the directives of the State Council. CEXIM is the conduit for China’s official concessionary credits to developing countries. Conversely, it is also the designated agent to on-lend financing provided by foreign governments or international financial institutions to end-users in China.
|DENMARK||Eksport Kredit Fonden (EKF) is Denmark’s official export credit agency. A 100% state-owned agency, EKF is an independent entity under the Danish Ministry of Business and Growth. EKF issues insurance cover for national and foreign companies that take risks on exports and investments containing a Danish economic interest. EKF offers both supplier and buyer credit facilities, and under a temporary measure introduced in 2009, EKF can issue export loans. This program is set to expire in 2020.|
|FINLAND||Finnvera, established by legislation in 1998, fulfills its mandate of supporting the growth and internationalization of Finnish companies through its three subsidiaries. Finnish Export Credit Ltd. (FEC) offers export credit guarantee and insurance products to promote exports. FEC also offers interest rate equalization at CIRR rates and can fund export credits arranged by commercial banks. Veraventura Ltd. and Seed Fund Vera Ltd. provide loans and guarantees for domestic SMEs to help them create and expand operations. The GOF provides its full faith and credit guarantee, but caps Finnvera’s foreign and domestic exposure.|
|FRANCE||Compagnie Française d’Assurance pour le Commerce Extérieur (COFACE) was established in 1946 as a quasi-public insurance company to administer export credit on behalf of the French sovereign. Subsequently, the Government of France divested its short term insurance activities. COFACE is now a private insurance company with short-term export credit insurance as its core activity. It has also diversified into factoring and information services. In addition to its private-sector activity, COFACE continues to administer medium- and long-term export credit insurance on behalf of and with the guarantee of the French government.|
|GERMANY||Euler Hermes Kreditversicherungs-AG (Hermes) is a private insurance company that provides credit insurance and bonding services. Since 1948, Hermes has served as the designated manager of the Federal Export Guarantee Scheme on behalf of the sovereign. Under this arrangement, Hermes provides medium- and long-term export credits and guarantees of German firms’ foreign investment.
Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) is a government-owned development bank, with oversight by the Ministry of Finance. KfW onlends funds to banks, with the banks taking the risk of the end-borrower. KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH (KfW IPEX) is an independent subsidiary 100% owned by KfW, which is responsible for international project and export finance, and it administers tied aid on behalf of the German government. Though KfW’s obligations enjoy the full faith and credit backing of the sovereign, the explicit guarantee does not extend to KfW’s subsidiaries.
|INDIA||Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India Ltd (ECGC), founded in 1957, is a state-owned corporation under the administrative control of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, but managed by a Board of Directors, with members from the public sector and private banking, insurance, and exporting community. ECGC’s major programs include short-, medium-, and long-term export credit insurance, overseas investment insurance, and export factoring.
Export-Import Bank of India (EXIM-Bank) was established in 1981 as a quasi-sovereign entity. Its purpose is to support the Indian government’s export objectives. It provides export and import financing and market research, and it finances overseas equity investment.
|ITALY||Servizi Assicurativi del Commercio Estero (SACE) was founded as a public entity in the 1970s under the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance. SACE has a broad mandate to promote Italian exports and investments and contribute to the internationalization of the Italian economy and projects of strategic importance. To meet this mission, SACE provides medium- and long-term official export credit insurance on behalf of the Italian government. In 2004, SACE was transformed into a joint stock company. Its sole shareholder is Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), the funding arm of the Italian postal service, which also has authority to fund SACE-guaranteed loans either by providing financing to a commercial bank or directly funding a foreign buyer. SACE has established subsidiaries, such as SACE BT, which provides short-term insurance, and SACE Fct, a factoring subsidiary. Obligations of subsidiaries, however, do not carry the full faith and credit support of the sovereign.
SIMEST is a development financier established in 1990 to promote foreign joint ventures outside of the EU. Controlled by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti with private sector partners, including financial institutions, banks, and business associations, SIMEST operates as a venture capital fund. In addition, SIMEST provides interest rate support to commercial banks in order to achieve CIRR.
|JAPAN||Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) is an agency established in 1950 as part of a Government of Japan’s trade promotion initiative. NEXI operates under the guidance of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and offers short, medium- and long-term export credit insurance, insurance for project finance, investment insurance, untied loan insurance, and bonds and guarantees coverage.
The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) is a 100% government-owned policy-based financial institution that plays a role in executing the GOJ’s foreign economic policies. As an official export credit agency, JBIC provides both direct loans and bank guarantees to support Japan’s exports of goods and services. Additionally, JBIC supports foreign investment of Japanese companies and provides import financing for natural resources and strategic products needed in Japan. JBIC also advances the GOJ’s foreign policy goals by providing untied aid and short-term loans to countries experiencing balance of payment problems that need access to short-term bridge financing.
|SOUTH KOREA||Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (K-sure) was established in 1992 as Korea’s official export credit agency to administer programs that had previously been lodged in other areas of the Korean Government following the Export Insurance Act of 1968. K-sure’s mission is to protect Korean business in their export and overseas investment activities through export credit insurance, overseas investment insurance, credit guarantees, and various other programs and services.
The Export-Import Bank of Korea (Korea Eximbank or KEXIM) is a government-owned policy bank and official export credit agency established in 1976 to support export and import sectors. KEXIM provides export loans, trade finance, and guarantee programs to support Korean enterprises’ overseas business. KEXIM also provides overseas investment credit, natural resources development credit, import credit, and information services related to business opportunities abroad. Additionally, KEXIM is also charged with facilitating economic cooperation with foreign countries.
Korea Finance Corporation (KoFC) is a policy-based non-bank financial institution wholly owned by the Government of Korea through the Ministry of Strategy and Finance. KoFC provides support for sectors designated to be of economic significance. It was established in 2009, as part of the divestment of various assets of the Korean Development Bank. KoFC finances large-scale overseas projects related to nuclear generation, new and renewable energy industries, and exploitation of natural resources. Additionally, KoFC provides support to domestic Korean companies, particularly SMEs, and new growth industries, such as those in high tech sectors.
|NETHERLANDS||Atradius Dutch State Business N.V. is part of the privately held Atradius Group of Companies. Under an arrangement in existence since 1932, the Dutch Government mandated the company to act as the government’s official ECA. Atradius provides various insurance products, including short-term export credit insurance, and Atradius Dutch State Business offers medium- and long-term export credit insurance and guarantee products on behalf of the sovereign. Atradius Dutch State Business also collaborates with the Ministry of Finance (MOF) on foreign policy initiatives, such as the Dutch Good Growth Fund to provide support in countries where the official programs are off-cover, and it manages the MOF’s portfolio of soft loans.|
|NORWAY||Garanti-instituttet for Eksportkreditt (GIEK), a public sector enterprise operated on commercial terms, is responsible to Parliament and represented by the Ministry of Trade, Industries, and Fisheries (NFD). GIEK issues guarantees and insurance to promote the export of Norwegian goods and services and investments abroad. Major facilities include pre-delivery risk and post-shipment credit insurance, as well as various other products, including investment insurance, counter-guarantees for bonds, and working capital for ships and devices at sea.
The Export Credit Norway (ECN) was established in 2012 as a limited liability company under the NFD. ECN is fully grant-funded and extends loans to companies in Norway and abroad for the purchase of capital goods and services from Norwegian exporters. For ECN to extend financing, a guarantee from GIEK or a highly creditworthy bank or consortium of banks is required.
|SPAIN||CESCE Credit Insurance currently operates as a corporate partnership of the Spanish state and banking and insurance groups, but the Government of Spain is in the process of divesting its (50.25%) ownership. CESCE offers short-, medium-, and long-term export credit insurance to cover political and commercial repayment risk on foreign sales, as well as pre-shipment coverage. Additionally, CESCE extends commercial cover for domestic sales. Once privatized, CESCE may adopt an operating model similar to that of Euler Hermes (Germany), Coface (France), and Attradius (The Netherlands) and serve as agent for the sovereign to provide certain products not readily available from private insurers, such as medium- and long-term export credit insurance.
Fondo para la Internationalización de la Empresa (FIEM) was established in 2011 within the Ministry of Economics and Competitiveness. Its sole purpose is to support the internationalization of Spanish companies, which it does through the provision of floating-rate and CIRR fixed-rate direct loans, concessional financing, tied aid, and overseas investment support.
|SWEDEN||Exportkreditnämnden (EKN) is a 100% state-owned governmental agency which supports Swedish exports and the internationalization of Swedish business. EKN provides guarantees of trade and investment transactions, as well as performance guarantees and pre-shipment support, such as working capital guarantees to assist small and medium size companies.
Svensk Exportkredit (SEK) began in 1962 as a joint endeavor of the Government of Sweden and major Swedish banks, but since 2004 has been wholly government-owned. SEK’s purpose is to provide financing for Swedish exporters and their foreign customers, and it offers direct loans, including foreign currency loans in Turkish lira, Mexican pesos, Korean won, and Chinese renminbi. SEK also has other programs to support exporters, such as discounting receivables, either directly or by providing support to banks that offer the service.
|UNITED KINGDOM||UK Export Finance (UKEF) is the official ECA of the U.K. Government. Prior to November 2011, the ECA had been known as ECGD, the acronym for the Export Credits Guarantee Department, a Ministerial Department of the Secretary of State for Business. ECGD continues to be the legal name of the ECA, but the name was changed for operating purposes to better convey the ECA’s expanded range of programs, beyond the traditional guarantee of capital and semi-capital export goods for which ECGD was known. UKEF provides a broad range of support, including export credit insurance, bank guarantees, direct loans, and other products to facilitate exports and overseas investment, and its activities build on the U.K. government’s over 90 years of experience in supporting exports.|
2 The G-7 is a group of highly industrialized countries -- the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, and Canada — that plays a dominant role in managing global economic matters.
3 The other principal competitors are: Austria, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden.