Belgium’s export credit agency (ECA) ONDD has downgraded its political risk classification for Syria and will not be providing cover for any new medium and long-term risks.

The ECA has downgraded Syria’s classification from category six to seven, on a one to seven scale.

After six months of protests in the country, the ONDD says that an outcome between the Syrian regime and its citizens does not appear within reach.

Consequently, the ECA believes that a further escalation of the conflict, an outright brutal reaction of the regime and more severe international or EU sanctions cannot be ruled out.

Other ECAs taking caution against Syria are the UK’s ECGD and Spain’s Cesce who are not currently covering transactions within the country.

Steve Roberts ECGD’s director of communications explains to GTR that providing cover for UK exports is not relevant to the ECA at the moment due to the lack of interest regarding Syrian transactions.

“This doesn’t mean that there aren’t any UK exports going to Syria, and if we had a serious proposal then we would consider it. We also went off cover for Lybia for a while, although we resumed cover this month, so it doesn’t mean we won’t be guaranteeing deals in Syria again soon, it’s just appropriate right now.”

Similarly, Cesce does not have an existing cover policy in place.

However, for short-term transactions the ECA says it will judge on a case-by-case basis in view of the sanctions of the UE for Syria.

Germany’s ECA Euler Hermes has also stopped its export credit cover for Syria, due to the “difficult situation in the country”, a spokesperson confirms.

Meanwhile, Italy’s Sace confirms that is has not “closed the door” to companies wishing to operate in Syria and, so far, has not changed the terms of its cover policies.

A Sace spokesperson tells GTR that as a consequence of the different scenarios of country risk, it has strengthened its monitoring.

“We are following a conservative approach for the evaluation of each new transaction opportunity in compliance with international sanctions and taking into consideration the increased risk profile of the country.”