Canada’s Export Development Corporation (EDC) is sending a team to Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar in April to study new financing opportunities.

It will focus in particular on petrochemicals in Qatar and telecommunications and transport projects in Saudi Arabia.

EDC, whose mandate was expanded in 1993, is interested in providing direct project lending to the region, the source says.

EDC’s has recently released its annual report for 1993 which shows:

Kuwait signed $Can 30 million ($68 million) of new business with EDC in 1993, most of which was for supplies to the petroleum sector. EDC introduced a delivery system for lines of credit in Kuwait in 1993 to make it more accessible to Canadian exporters. The programme applied to financing transactions of up to $Can 5 million ($6.9 million).

Iran accounted for $Can 19 million ($26 million) nearly 40 per cent of total claims. However, it also had the quickest recoveries and repaid $Can 16 million ($22 million). EDC says it is optimistic on business with Iran, however, any new activity would have to take place under the auspices of the Paris Club.

Egypt had the second largest non-performing loans with EDC at $Can 263 million ($361 million), although some inroads have been made on repayments.

Turkey was EDC’s fourth largest borrower in 1993 and accounted for $Can 315 million ($433 million) in direct financing and guarantees in 1993. EDC supported a project by SNC Lavalin and Bombardier to build a rapid transport system in Ankara.