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France launches new export credit agency

France has transferred its export credit agency (ECA) from the Compagnie française d’assurance pour le commerce extérieur (Coface) to the Banque Publique d’Investissement (Bpifrance) under the name Bpifrance Assurance Export.20 Jan 2017

The ECA provides public guarantees to support export businesses and Bpifrance will now make the service available to all small and medium-sized French businesses, Bpifrance said.

"Public guarantees historically involve risks that the private market can not bear due to the size of the amounts, too long durations or too high risk levels," it said.

"Transferring the management of public guarantees for export to Bpifrance Assurance Export is part of a simplification of the export support system in order to facilitate SMEs' access. It reflects the will of the French state to reinforce its support for French companies in their international development through a single entry point for financing and support," it said.

The French state will now directly guarantee the operations subscribed by Bpifrance, the company said.

A team of 240 ECA-related staff from Coface will transfer to work for Bpifrance Assurance Export, and will be led by director general Christophe Viprey.

The ECA has been run by Coface on behalf of the French state since it was established in 1946, Bpifrance said.