Export guarantees are among the few tools left for an active economic policy to promote foreign trade. Under international agreements, which are in place since 1996, guarantees have been restricted to non-marketable risks. As a result, the total volume of guarantees has been stagnating in recent years. Nevertheless, there is clear evidence for the positive effect of guarantees on the export volume in Austria from the calculation of a positive export multiplier and the simulation of a WIFO Macro Model.
Austria translated the "acquis communautaire" with respect to export guarantee schemes into action when joining the European Union in 1995. Public guarantees for outstanding debt from exports have since then been restricted to "non-marketable" risks. Therefore, the Oesterreichische Kontrollbank provides guarantees only for exports to non-OECD member countries (and for exports to the new OECD members, i.e., Mexico, South Korea, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland). Deliveries to "core-OECD" countries can only be guaranteed if the terms of guarantee are longer than two years or if the counterparty is a non-private institution. The reorientation resulted in a decline in new allocations of guarantees from ATS 54.5 billion (1994) to 47.2 billion (1997). The share of guaranteed exports in total exports declined to 8.1 percent. Nevertheless, the export performance of Austrian firms was not negatively affected. A WIFO survey among active customers of the OeKB revealed that public guarantees have been almost completely replaced by private insurance. The effects of public export guarantees can only be assessed by analysing "non-marketable" risks. Currently, these comprise mainly outstanding debt of developing and Central and Eastern European countries. In 1994 about 94 percent of outstanding guarantees (ATS 86.3 billion) referred to exports of goods and only 5.7 percent to exports of services. Roughly 30 percent of the guarantees were used to insure exports of Austrian machinery and cars, 23 percent for manufactured goods, 14.5 percent for chemical products, and 8.1 percent for consumer products. For allocated public guarantees we can estimate an export multiplier of 1, i.e., ATS 1 billion of export guarantees generate ATS 1 billion of additional exports. The effectiveness of the Austrian export guarantee system is thus remarkably better than that of the German Hermes guarantees. The economic relevance of the guarantee system was assessed in a model simulation. Under the assumption of no private insurance system being established for "non-marketable" risks, exports of goods would decline by 5.6 percent and be more strongly concentrated on the European Union market. Subsequently, 39,000 jobs would be lost and investment would go down by 2.9 percent, which would finally result in a decline of gross domestic product by 1.1 to 1.8 percent during the simulation period until 2001.
Exportgarantien in Österreich; Export Guarantees in Austria
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