Press release: 2002 Annual General Meeting, Prague

Berne Union Members Meet in Prague
The Berne Union held its Annual General Meeting in Prague from 14-18 October 2002 to review levels of trade and investment supported by its 51 Members in 2002. The meeting in Prague was the first time the Berne Union had met in the Central and Eastern European region. The event hosted by the Czech Republic member EGAP (Export Guarantee and Insurance Corporation) provided a platform and opportunities for Members to discuss professional issues regarding the current export credit and investment climate and to look at the prospects for 2003.

Business Covered
Total trade and investment insured in 2001 amounted to US$ 472 billion. This represents a reduction of 4% on 2000. Business levels for 2002 are unlikely to show a return to growth. This reflects the present global uncertainty which is particularly affecting the markets in which Berne Union Members are active.

Short term business declined by 4% from US$ 410 billion in 2000 to US$ 395 billion in 2001.

In comparison, insured medium and long term export credit business reflecting project and capital goods business levels in emerging markets have experienced a noticeable drop, falling from US$ 71 million to US$ 60 million in 2001.

Overall investments insured by Berne Union Members showed an increase from US$ 13 billion in 2000 to US$ 17 billion in 2001. However, this was largely due to the addition of two new major investment insurance members in 2001.

The total commitments outstanding of Berne Union Members amounted to US$ 508 billion at the end of 2001, of which US$ 436 billion related to export credits and US$ 72 billion to investment.

The business levels of Berne Union members gives some indication of emerging markets undertaking development programs where credit insurance provides the necessary finance. The countries with the highest amounts of medium/long term commitments from members were: China; Russia; Turkey; Iran; Mexico; Brazil; Indonesia

President and Vice President
Mr Vivian Brown, Chief Executive of the UK’s Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) was re-elected at the meeting in Prague as the President of the Berne Union.

Mr Marjan Kramar, President of the Board of Slovene Export Corporation (SEC) was elected in to succeed Mr. Peter Silberschmidt, Managing Director of Geschäftsstelle für die Exportrisikogarantie (ERG, Switzerland) as Vice President.

New Membership
The Greek Export Credit Agency, ECIO (Export Credit Insurance Organisation), joined the Berne Union in April 2002, initially as an Observer.

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