ECA club talks business in Prague the Berne Union held its annual general meeting in Prague from October 14-18 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.

Total trade and investment insured in 2001 amounted to US$472bn. 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$410bn in 2000 to US$395bn 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$71mn to US$60mn in 2001.

Overall investments insured by Berne Union members showed an increase from US$13bn in 2000 to US$17bn 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$508bn at the end of 2001, of which US$436bn related to export credits and US$72bn 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: Iran, China, Turkey, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia.