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Friday, May 3, 2013

The Berne Union: An Overview

James K. Jackson
Specialist in International Trade and Finance

The Berne Union, or the International Union of Credit and Investment Insurers, is an international organization comprised of more than 70 public and private sector members that represent both public and private segments of the export credit and investment insurance industry. Members range from highly developed economies to emerging markets, from diverse geographical locations, and from a spectrum of viewpoints about approaches to export credit financing and investment insurance. Within the Berne Union, the United States is represented by the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Eximbank) and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and four private-sector firms and by one observer. The main role of the Berne Union and its affiliated group, the Prague Club, is to: work to facilitate cross-border trade by helping exporters mitigate risks through promoting internationally acceptable principles of export credit financing, strengthen the global financial structure, and facilitate foreign investments. Over the past decade, the growth and increased importance of global trade and financing have altered the agenda of the Berne Union from focusing primarily on concerns over country-specific political risk to concerns about global trade, international finance, global and regional security, and questions of business organization, civil society, transparency, and corporate responsibility. The 2008-2009 financial crisis and the economic recession that followed has altered export financing by making credit conditions tighter and by raising concerns over risks in the advanced economies. As a result, demands on official export credits has grown sharply. Congress, through its oversight of Eximbank and OPIC, as well as international trade and finance, has interests in the functioning of the Berne Union.

Date of Report: April 5, 2013
Number of Pages: 8
Order Number: RS22319
Price: $19.95

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