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Article

Banks in drive for project principles

The drive by Citigroup and large European providers of project finance in emerging markets to obtain industry-wide adherence to the International Finance Corporation's social and environmental guidelines may increase pressure on export credit agencies to do the same..."In the past, the US Export-Import bank has taken the lead on environmental standards and issues of transparency," said John Sohn, an expert on export credit agencies at Friends of the Earth...The impetus behind the US lead was in part due to financing of the controversial Three Gorges dam in China in 1996. The US Export-Import bank decided not to finance the project...Non-US ECAs, such as Germany's Hermes and Export Development Canada, less constrained by environmental standards, provided some finance for the dam. In an attempt to create a level playing field, the US Export-Import Bank began promoting within the OECD the concept of common and transparent environmental standards but its moves have generally been met with resistance.