- The leaders of major Asian Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) gathered at the Special Asian RCG (Regional Cooperation Group) Meeting on 17-18 November 2008, in Tokyo, Japan. The Ad-hoc meeting was chaired by Mr Hidehiro Konno, the President of the Berne Union and Chairman and CEO of NEXI, and was attended by the representatives from nine Asian ECAs including Dr. Apichai Boontherawara, President of ThaiEXIM, who is Chairing the RCG in 2008-09, and Ms Kimberly Wiehl, the Secretary-General of the Berne Union (list of participating ECAs attached as Annex 1).
- Intensive discussions focused on responses by Asian ECAs to the global financial crisis. As the basis for the discussions, we, the Asian ECAs, share the concern that the global financial crisis is impacting the real economy, with shrinking trade and investment flows in the region as well as in the global markets.
- We confirmed our commitment to supporting global trade and investment flows among the Asian countries as well as with the rest of the world. We recognise that increasing government support could be critical in fulfilling our commitment. Some of the participant ECAs have been given, or are discussing, additional financial support from their governments to increase their capacity to assist their exporters (summarised in Annex 2).
- The timely exchange of updated credit information is essential. Through the use of the Berne Union Intranet and direct bilateral exchanges, Asian ECAs will share their experiences on particular countries, banks and buyers. By monitoring payment delays and sharing information on credit and debt collection agencies among the Berne Union members we will help one another to cope with the financial crisis.
- We are working together to respond to the needs of our exporters, who have developed supply chains across the Asian region. By combining our knowledge and risk-taking capacity, Asian ECAs will expand their ability to meet the needs of their clients during this crisis. Reinsurance and coinsurance combine ECA capacity to provide comprehensive support for clients, and each agency also benefits by enhancing their technical capabilities. We will seek to expand reinsurance/coinsurance relationships with other Asian ECAs by actively exploring opportunities. Eventually, these bilateral reinsurance/coinsurance arrangements are expected to function as a reinsurance network covering the whole region.
- We welcome the Berne Union making a priority member interaction and collaboration, especially at the practitioners’ level. Asian ECAs will actively participate in Berne Union workshops and seminars and furthermore, will enhance our capacity also through intensive learning opportunities within the region including training programs, secondments, workshops and seminars. The RCG Chair will take a coordinating role of organising these capacity-building initiatives.
- The Asian ECA members combined represent a significant volume of the new business in the Berne Union today and are expected to play a role commensurate with their place in the Berne Union. The Annual General Meeting in Seoul next year, which commemorates the 75th Anniversary of Berne Union, will be a landmark event for Asian ECAs to gain momentum in their activities in the Berne Union.
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