More information about Finexpo
Finexpo is an interministerial advisory committee which is managed by the Administration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is chaired by the Director-General of Bilateral Relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while the vice-chairman is provided by the Ministry of Finance. It comprises representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade, Development Cooperation, Finance, Economy and the Budget, and also includes representatives of the National Delcredere Office and the Regions.
As mentioned previously, Finexpo studies the dossiers submitted by companies and/or banks seeking public aid for export credit.
Why the State’s involvement?
• To allow Belgian companies which are negotiating a contract and competing with companies from other countries to offer appealing and competitive financing.
• To allow Belgian companies to conduct projects in developing countries, and thereby contributing to their development.
There are two types of State involvement: one enabling financing to be offered at competitive market conditions, and the other making it possible to grant public aid for projects carried out in developing countries.
What instruments are used to meet these objectives?
There are five instruments: the first – interest stabilisation – relates to loans financed at market conditions, whilst the four others – interest subsidies, interest subsidies with a grant, grants, and State-to-State loans – enable aid to be provided.
What are the rules governing Finexpo assistance?
Finexpo was set up by the Royal Decree enhancing the effectiveness of instruments for financial assistance for exports and the Royal Decree of 15 July 1997 laying down the composition and the terms of reference of the Finexpo Committee. The text of these decrees is included in the Finexpo documentation and can be found on the Finexpo website. The decrees determine which ministries are competent to grant public support and assistance and also lay down the methods of State involvement.
In addition to this national legislation, there is an international agreement concluded within the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD): the Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits. The member states of the OECD are bound by the provisions of the Arrangement, which aim to prevent countries that compete with one another from procuring more favourable conditions to obtain a contract. These rules are needed because they ensure that the member states’ actions remain fair and verifiable.
The Arrangement applies to medium- and long-term credit, i.e. credit with a repayment period of two years or more.
The Arrangement contains provisions on down payments, maximum terms of credit, local expenditure, classification of political risks, etc. The objective it pursues is to harmonise the practices of each member state and limit and control public aid granted for export credit.
Moreover, the Arrangement includes rules that apply to aid credit and limit its scope.
The first important rule is that tied and untied aid credit can only be granted to developing countries. The public aid granted must represent 35% or 50% of the total amount of the planned credit. The percentage applied varies according to the GNP per capita. Each year, the OECD compiles a list that includes the World Bank’s classification of countries by GNP per capita. The list makes it possible to see whether and under what conditions the State can grant aid for a project in a given country.
Another very important, binding rule states that projects must be non viable commercially to qualify for public aid.
Finally, the least developed countries (LDCs) and soon heavily indeed poor countries (HIPCs) will only be eligible for tied aid.
In parallel with the Arrangement, the member states have undertaken to comply with the recommendations on the environment, corruption and responsible lending.
Finexpo examines the dossiers submitted to it and verifies whether all the applicable rules have been complied with. It undertakes a separate examination of each dossier on a case-by-case basis in light of involvement criteria and within the constraints of the allocated budgets.
The annual commitment budget at Finexpo’s disposal for 2010 is €65 million for State-to-State loans and €37.05 million for the other instruments.