Governments provide officially supported export credits through Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) in support of national exporters competing for overseas sales. Such support can take the form either of “official financing support”, such as direct credits to foreign buyers, refinancing or interest-rate support, or of “pure cover support”, such as export credits insurance or guarantee cover for credits provided by private financial institutions. ECAs can be government institutions or private companies operating on behalf of governments.
The OECD has a long tradition of rule-making in the area of officially supported export credits, dating back to 1963.
The Export Credits Group
The OECD provides a forum for exchanging information on Members’ export credits systems and business activities and for discussing and coordinating national export credits policies relating to good governance issues, such as anti-bribery measures, environmental and social due diligence, and sustainable lending. These discussions take place under the auspices of the Working Party on Export Credits and Credit Guarantees (the “Export Credits Group”, or ECG). All OECD Members are ECG Members, except Chile, Colombia and Iceland.
The Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits
The OECD is also a forum for maintaining, developing and monitoring the financial disciplines for export credits, which are contained within the Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits (the “Arrangement”). These disciplines stipulate the most generous financial terms and conditions that Members may offer when providing officially supported export credits. Discussions relating to the Arrangement take place under the auspices of the Participants to the Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits (the “Participants”). The Participants are composed of Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United States.
The resulting export credits disciplines apply first and foremost to OECD Members; however, several key non-Members regularly observe meetings of the ECG and the Participants. In addition, adherence to any of the OECD export credits disciplines (de facto and de jure) by any non-Members on a voluntary basis would be welcomed and, in this regard, the OECD Export Credits Secretariat is ready to assist non-Members in any way.
Lastly, both the ECG and the Participants consult with relevant stakeholders, such as non-governmental organisations, business and banking groups, labour unions, and other international organisations, on an annual basis and in one-off special sessions when negotiating revised disciplines.
Consultation with Civil Society Organisations
The ECG and the Participants organise an annual Consultation or Forum with representatives from Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), including from business organisations, banking associations, trade union representatives and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The purpose of these events is to update CSOs on recent developments relating to export credits and to obtain CSOs’ views on issues being discussed by the Export Credits Committees.