Export-Import Bank Pressed On Environmental Lapses

March 1, 1994

Responding to EDF criticisms, the Export-Import Bank of the United States has agreed to seek ways to improve its environmental performance. In a meeting with EDF attorneys Bruce S. Manheim and Bruce S. Rich, the newly appointed Eximbank president, Kenneth D. Brody, committed the Bank to work toward the adoption of more stringent environmental standards for its loans, which total $12-15 billion a year.

In a letter to Brody requesting the meeting, EDF had documented shortcomings in the Eximbank’s performance, noting that the Bank had approved loans that U.S. directors to the World Bank and other multilateral banks had rejected on environmental grounds.

The Eximbank has a mandate to create jobs in the U.S. by making loans to foreign governments which, in turn, buy U.S. exports. Most industrialized nations also have export credit agencies.

“The major obstacle to the U.S. Eximbank adopting environmental standards is the fear that Japanese, German, or French export credit agencies will gain an unfair advantage in the global marketplace,” explained Rich.

To remedy this, EDF will seek common environmental standards for all export credit agencies at the next G-7 Economic Summit of leading industrialized nations, scheduled for Naples, in July.