Reciprocal Interest Adjustment Contract (CARI)



  • The Interest Make-Up System or Reciprocal Interest Adjustment Contract (CARI) is a system designed to provide official financial backing for the export of Spanish goods and services. Through the system, private financial entities are given an incentive to grant long term (two or more years) export credits at fixed interest rates.
  • These minimum rates, known as Consensus rates, are regulated by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The usefulness of the CARI System from the Spanish exporter's point of view lies in the fact that it enables him to offer the financing of the export contract by means of a long term credit at a fixed interest rate, under conditions similar to those offered by competitors.

How CARI works:

  • Every six months, the yield obtained by the financial entity on the credit granted at the Consensus rate is compared with the financing's cost on the interbank market. The difference, plus a management margin acknowledged in favour of the financial entity, is adjusted between the entity and ICO at the end of each period compared. In accordance with this adjustment, payment is made by ICO to the financial entity or vice versa.

Current management margins:

  • For up to 5 year (included) repayment period credits: 60 basis points.
  • For over 5 years and up to 8,5 year (included) repayment period credits: 70 basis points.
  • For over 8,5 year repayment period credits: 80 basis points.
  • These percentage margins will be increased by 10 basis points in case of credits in a currency different from euro. Additionally, the percentage margins will be increased by 30 basis points in case of credits amounting less or up to 3 million euros or equivalent in a different currency.

Agents in the CARI system:

  • Spanish exporters and foreign importers.
  • Financial entities: banks, savings banks and credit cooperatives, which grant the export credits.
  • Spanish official bodies and state-owned entities: ICO, Directorate General for International Trade and Investment (Ministry of Economy and Business) and, as applicable, Compañía Española de Seguro de Crédito a la Exportación, S.A. (CESCE).

Types of Credit. Beneficiaries of the CARI system:

  • Foreign buyer credit: the financial entity grants the credit to the foreign buyer who thereby becomes a borrower; the supplier or exporter receives the amount of the credit directly, as payment for the sale made.
  • Domestic supplier credit: in this case, it is the exporter who assumes the role of borrower. The only obligation existing between the foreign buyer and the supplier or exporter is that established under the commercial contract.
  • Credit facility: this is a variation of the buyer credit. The financial entity places an overall amount from which various commercial contracts may be financed at the disposal of the borrower, usually a bank in the buyer country.

Items and amounts eligible for finance:

  • A cash payment equivalent to at least 15 percent of the amount involved in the goods and services exported is required.
  • Accordingly, the credit will finance 85 percent of the exported goods and services always observing what stablished in the Spanish Ministerial Order ECC/488/2016, of April 4th. This figure may include freightage, transport insurance and the insurance premium on the export credit if these services are provided by a Spanish or third country company.
  • Moreover, the following may be financed: up to 100 percent of local expenses (with a limit of 30 percent of the exported goods and services)

Financial conditions:

  • Currency: the credit will be denominated in euros or in any currency quoted on the European Central Bank.
  • Reimbursement period: this depends on the category of the importer-debtor country:

Five years, extendible to up to eight and a half years for Category I countries (according to World Bank classification: countries with high GNP per capita). 10 years for other countries (Category II Countries).

  • Interest rate: the commercial interest reference rate (CIRR or the Consensus rate). For OECD currencies, it is calculated monthly and will depend on the option chosen:

- CARI application with an executed commercial contract: the rate in force at the time of receipt of the application at ICO (initial validity during 180 days).

- CARI application without an executed commercial contract. Two options are available: 1) The interest rate in force on the date of execution of the commercial contract or 2) the rate in force on the date of receipt of the application at ICO + 0.2 percent per annum for rate reservation (120 days are reserved).

- Once the CARI Contract is signed, the interest rate will remain unchanged during all the credit repayment period.


  • It is incumbent on the financial entity to determine the need to underwrite the credit risk and the guarantees required.

Presentation of applications:

  • The application is to be presented at ICO by the credit entity financing the export operation. ICO's address: Paseo del Prado, 4, 28014 Madrid. Tel.: (34) 91 592 16 00. Fax: (34) 91 592 17 00 or by mail to the ICO Area: Advice and Structuring of State Funds for Internationalisation.
  • If, according to the Spanish Ministerial Order ECC/488/2016, of April 4th, the application has to be specifically authorised by the Directorate General for International Trade and Investment (Ministry of Economy), this application has to be accompanied by an annex writing detailing the circumstances which make necessary this specific authorization and the complete application, together with all the documents attached to it, will be sent, at the same time, to ICO and to the Directorate General for International Trade and Investment (Ministry of Economy) who, if considers it appropriate, will authorize the operation based on the strategic character for the internationalization of the Spanish company or sector.

Documentation required:

  • The application form (in accordance with "Modelo de Solicitud" attached) will be presented together with a sworn statement issued by the exporter (in accordance with "Modelo de Declaración Responsible Exportador" attached). 
  • Additionally, in the course of the CARI's administrative procedure, the following documents are to be presented: the executed commercial contract (in case it has not been presented together with the application), the current CESCE offer (or that of another firm of underwriters should the credit need to be underwritten) and the credit agreement executed by the financial entity and the borrower.

CARI administrative procedure:

  • Approval: once the operation is authorized generically by ICO, on behalf of the Directorate General for International Trade and Investment (Ministry of Economy), or specifically by the Directorate General for International Trade and Investment (Ministry of Economy), as the case may be, ICO will issue an offer of financial terms (Letter of Intent or "Carta de Intenciones") in the Directorate's name.
  • Letter of intent: this is the offer made to the financial entity by ICO. It gives details of the terms and conditions to be included in the credit agreement (maximum amount, interest rate, repayment term) and the management margin acknowledged in favour of the financial entity. It is valid for a maximum period of six months.
  • Formalisation: through the execution of a contract between ICO and the financial entity.