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EXIMBANKA SR hosted partner export credit agencies (ECAs) from the V4 region and Austria at a conference in Modra and created an inspiring space for sharing common themes and opportunities for cooperation with partners. Given the growing challenges in international trade, export credit agencies must look for new opportunities to support export firms, which will enable them to increase their ability to compete in foreign markets. The main topics of this year’s conference were challenges and opportunities related to the recovery of the Ukrainian economy, the development of the territorial structure of exports with an emphasis on new prospective markets, and the role of export credit agencies in supporting transactions mitigating the negative impacts of climate change. In addition to EXIMBANKA SR, the event was also attended by the Czech Export Bank, Export Guarantee and Insurance Corporation (EGAP), EXIM Hungary, KUKE from Poland and Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG (OeKB).

The event is traditionally aimed at promoting closer cooperation of export activities on a regional basis between the V4 and Austria.

“The V4 ECA Conference is a platform where we can jointly contribute with partner agencies to finding common solutions and strengthening the position of ECAs in the framework of state export promotion and at the same time be a full partner in the process of discussion of these issues at the European Union and OECD,” said Marián Janočko, Director General of Eximbank SR.

What are the current challenges facing export credit agencies?

The conference highlighted key challenges that export credit agencies need to address in their activities. The primary role is primarily to complement the commercial financial sector, which generally has a lower risk appetite. Identifying projects of common interest to the V4 and Austrian agencies remains a common challenge.

EU and international financial institutions are expanding the number of support programmes for the reconstruction of the Ukrainian economy, and this is where there is room for the V4 ECAs to work together. The V4 ECAs sense a growing demand from exporters for financing and insurance solutions for their projects in Ukraine. Both the Polish export credit agency KUKE and the Slovak Eximbanka currently provide insurance for short-term export receivables to Ukraine. Internal discussions and risk assessments are ongoing at the level of the participating ECAs regarding support for longer-term projects.

How to motivate exporters to implement innovative and sustainable solutions in their business and through what instruments to increase the attractiveness of state export support for projects with positive climate impacts?

ECAs have the opportunity to support companies in upgrading production technology prior to export and subsequently in supporting specific export contracts. To promote attractiveness for climate-sustainable projects (especially manufacturing, hydrogen production, energy storage and carbon capture technologies), e.g. fast-track processing of applications or the increased flexibility of financial terms allowed by international regulation (in particular extended maturities).

How does EXIMBANKA SR reflect the current challenges?

In connection with the energy crisis, EXIMBANKA SR provides Slovak companies with Energy Credit, a specific product aimed at bridging the period of increased energy costs, from the end of 2022. In terms of product orientation, EXIMBANKA SR already offers a wide range of products also for the SME segment, i.e. for small and medium-sized enterprises, in which it sees a great scope and potential. This is also the case for energy credit, as smaller businesses have also been negatively affected by the increase in energy input prices. Another area is the promotion of transactions to Ukraine and the related reconstruction of the Ukrainian economy, which is both a challenge and an opportunity for export companies. In this territory EXIMBANKA SR is the only one in Slovakia that provides insurance of short-term receivables to exporters.

EXIMBANKA SR is currently adapting its export product portfolio to the needs of small and medium-sized entrepreneurs, which in the Slovak Republic make up 99.9% of the total number of business entities in the Slovak economy and contribute more than half of the total value added. For 2022, EXIMBANKA SR achieved total equity exposure from banking activities and exposure from insurance activities of almost CZK 1 billion. EUR”, said Rastislav Podhorec, Deputy Director General of EXIMBANKA SR.