The Federal Government and the mandatary of the Federal Government, Euler Hermes, wish to make information relating to export credit guarantees available to all interested citizens.
Thus, the actions of the Federal Government relating to this important instrument of foreign trade promotion become transparent and comprehensible; thus, a relationship based on trust can evolve. Besides, the Federal Government will gain important insights for its decisions from the contributions of all social interest groups.
Transparency in the assessment of environmental and social and human rights issues
Transparency is very important when environmental, social and human rights issues are assessed as part of the decision on an export transaction’s eligibility for cover.
The transparency requirements were defined on OECD level in the “Recommendations of the Council on Common Approaches for Officially Supported Export Credits and Environmental and Social Due Diligence” (short: Common Approaches).
After committing themselves to comply with the Common Approaches, the governments of all OECD member states, among them the Federal Government, are expected to ensure maximum transparency as regards the general principles and the assessment and decision processes prior to granting cover of export transactions.
Therefore, we offer on our websites comprehensive information on the assessment of environmental, social and human rights issues.
The Federal Government and Euler Hermes actively seek to engage in a dialogue and are in continuous discussions with all important interest groups and institutions.
Transparency with regard to individual, covered export transactions
Whenever the competitive situation so permits, Euler Hermes directly exchanges information on the projects with the export credit agencies of other countries and financial institutions (commercial banks, development banks) while the due diligence is under way in order to develop a common position. The purpose of such exchange is to contribute to a similar approach by the various stakeholders and an exchange of experiences.
Where projects involve high environmental, social or human rights risks, detailed information is published already 30 days before a firm commitment for cover is made. All projects investigated in accordance with the Common Approaches are also published.
In addition, basic data (exporter’s name, buyer country, order value according to size categories, credit periods as well as the result of the assessment of environmental, social and human rights issue) of all projects having an order value of more than 15 million euros irrespective of their environmental relevance are regularly published on our website after a final commitment for cover has been made.
Limits of transparency
In accordance with the statutory provisions (Act Governing Access to Information held by the Federal Government (Freedom of Information Act – IFG), Environmental Information Act – UIG and the press law) information on all export transactions covered under Federal guarantees can be requested. However, the access to the requested information may be restricted for certain reasons.
Companies applying for export credit cover must be able to count on the Federal Government protecting, in accordance with the legal provisions, any proprietary information they submit so that a transaction’s eligibility for cover and the justifiability of the risk involved can be ascertained. The provision of information must remain manageable. The Federal Government’s and Euler Hermes’s ability to work and the objective of Hermes Cover must not be jeopardised.
In particular a company’s trade and business secrets – financial, commercial as well as proprietary information – are considered to be sensitive data, which is made available by the applicant or a third party. Moreover, the authorities of the Federal Republic are obliged to protect public interests, such as international relations or the internal and external security. This responsibility also applies to personal data. For each information request, a corresponding case-by-case examination will be conducted.
Scope of application of the OECD Common Approaches
Access to information
Besides the official route to apply directly to the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy for access to information, there is, of course, the possibility to place a request regarding the assessment of environmental, social and human rights issues directly at Euler Hermes.
An email directed at the address Umwelt@agaportal.de with a brief description of your request suffices.