Export Credit Agencies: The Unsung Giants of International Trade and Finance

Export Credit Agencies: The Unsung Giants of International Trade and Finance

Export Credit Agencies: The Unsung Giants of International Trade and Finance

Export Credit Agencies: The Unsung Giants of International Trade and Finance

Synopsis

Gianturco examines the roles played by export credit agencies (ECAs) which are specialized financial institutions that cover some $1 trillion of exports each year. ECAs provide loans, guarantees, insurance, and other financial services to their particular nation's exporters and foreign direct investors. In terms of their financial impact on international trade, these agencies are unsurpassed, but rarely do they receive attention in the financial press or broader recognition. Gianturco discusses the functions ECAs play in international business and economic development.

Excerpt

This book was written in bits and pieces beginning in 1977. That was the year I started the consulting firm of First Washington Associates (FWA)—self-described from the outset as the only firm in the world specializing in technical assistance for export credit agencies. the information contained herein represents lessons learned over an even longer period—first as an export credit agency (ECA) manager and then as a consultant.

When fwa started, I had just completed fifteen years with the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. (U.S. Eximbank) rising from its clerical ranks in 1963 to the board of directors in 1976. During that time, I learned that very few people outside the ECAs knew what an export credit agency was or what it did. Many otherwise knowledgeable folks thought that the U.S. Eximbank was the same as the World Bank. However, while at the U.S. Eximbank, I found out some of the differences and absorbed all I could about export credit operations—at least about American eca operations.

It was not until the early 1970s that I discovered that the American ways of export credit were not the only, or even the best, ways of extending export financing. in 1970, I started regularly attending Berne Union and Organization for Economic Control and Development (OECD) meetings where the world’s largest and oldest ECAs, almost all from industrial countries, discuss mutual concerns, problems, and possible solutions. Despite all this exposure, however, I remained relatively ignorant about ECAs of developing countries and how they differed from those of industrial countries.

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