export Development canada
An export credit agency, EDC offers trade financing, export credit insurance, bonding services and foreign market expertise. EDC has financed innumerable environmentally and socially destructive projects as well as being used to advance Ottawa’s political objectives.
EDC provided $2 billion in credits for work on the Three Gorges dam in China. While EDC jumped head first into financing a dam that displaced over 1 million people, the US Export-Import Bank concluded the project was “not consistent” with its environmental guidelines.
In the 1970s EDC provided Inco with more than $55 million in loans for its Eximbal project in Guatemala. Inco worked closely with a brutal dictatorship that killed an incredible three to six thousand (mostly indigenous) people in the region around the mine. In an incident that received international media attention, on May 29, 1978, 53 people were killed after protesting the expropriation of their land, homes and crops to make way for Inco’s mine.
During the Suharto dictatorship EDC supported an Inco mine on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, which displaced the indigenous Karonsi Dongo community of Sorowako. When Iran’s brutal Shah was overthrown in 1979 EDC had more than $100 million in outstanding export insurance to the country.
EDC reinforces Canadian foreign policy. After openly Marxist candidate Salvador Allende won Chile’s presidential elections in 1970 EDC refused to finance Canadian exports to Chile, which contributed to a reduction in trade between the two countries. This suspension of EDC credits led Chile’s Minister of Finance to criticize Canada’s “banker’s attitude”.
After refusing to provide credits to the elected government three weeks after Allende was overthrown, on October 2nd, 1973, EDC announced it was granting $5 million in credit to Chile’s central bank to purchase six Twin Otter aircraft – good for carrying troops - from De Havilland. By 1978 EDC had provided five facilities worth between $15 and $30 million to Pinochet’s Chile.
During the 1980s EDC provided unconditional financial support for transactions relating to murderous right-wing regimes in Guatemala and Honduras, but not for the leftist Sandinistas in Nicaragua. A 1997 Foreign Affairs report cited Colombia as EDC’s largest market for its Foreign Investment Insurance policies despite widespread state-sponsored human rights violations. In fact, Colombia’s instability explained EDC’s ties to that country. Foreign Affairs noted that “the on-going decertification of Colombia by the United States, which has frozen export credits from the U.S. export-import bank, has opened opportunities for Canadian financial entities such as the EDC and Canada’s private banks.”