July 28, 2003
Mr. Fraser Reilly-King
NGO Working Group on the EDC
104-153 Chapel Street
Dear Mr. Reilly-King:
Thank you for your letter of May 16, 2003, concerning the Three Gorges Hydroelectric Project in China. I regret the delay in replying to you.
As I indicated in my letter of March 17, 2003, in reply to your earlier correspondence on this issue, the Export Development Corporation has established a new environmental review directive for conducting environmental review of projects for which it is approached for support. This review includes consideration of the potential social impacts of such projects. If EDC were now asked to consider support for such a large hydro facility , it would be legally bound to review the project against internationally acknowledged standards of good practice. Without prejudging the outcome of that process, it is clear that these standards (and their application to export credit activities) have changed significantly since 1996.
The Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) and EDC aims to ensure that EDC receives, on a systematic basis, timely information on human rights developments to assist it in making informed decisions related to the provision of export financing and risk-management services. This exchange of information promotes and enhanced dialogue on human rights between DFAIT and EDC. It underpins DFAIT’s role as the conduit for Canada’s diplomatic relations and official communications with the governments of other countries and DFAIT’s objective of projecting Caandian values and culture in the world by promoting universal respect for human rights. EDC uses information it receives from our department to inform its risk assessments on specific transactions.
I hope that this information is useful to you and thank you again for writing.
The Hon. Bill Graham
Minister of Foreign Affairs