Dutch state to end export credit insurance for fossil fuel from Jan. 1

A child runs as climate change activists gather to protest outside of BlackRock headquarters ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), in San Francisco, California, U.S., October 29, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

AMSTERDAM, Nov 3 (Reuters) - The Dutch government on Thursday said it intends to stop giving companies and banks credit insurance for exports in the fossil fuel sector as of Jan. 1, following through on a pledge made at the COP-26 climate conference in Glasgow.

In a statement announcing the move, the Finance Ministry called it an "important step" and noted that the Cabinet is still in dialogue with other countries that made the same commitment "in order to guarantee a level playing field as much as possible".

Around 20 countries including Germany, the United States, Britain and Canada made similar commitments, but only a few including France have so far implemented them into policy.

Like most industrial nations, the Netherlands grants state export credit insurance (ECI) on qualifying exports when private insurance is insufficient, usually on large transactions or exports to developing countries.

When the pledge was announced in 2021, the Cabinet said it did so knowing it would put Dutch exporters at a competitive disadvantage to exporters in countries that do still offer such insurance.

In 2021, the Dutch state took on 7.3 billion euros in new ECI obligations, a spokesperson for the finance ministry said. The ministry does not have data for the fossil fuel sector.

According to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), petroleum and petroleum products made up 9.3% of Dutch exports in 2021, with a trade value of 54.7 billion euros.

The Finance Ministry said the Netherlands might reconsider the policy if other countries fail to adhere to their COP-26 pledges.

Dutch exporters apply for state ECI via private trade credit insurer Atradius, part of Grupo Catala Occidente SA(GCO.MC).

Reporting by Toby Sterling, editing by Ed Osmond

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