TFG spoke to Emmanuelle Ganne, Senior Analyst and Blockchain Lead at the World Trade Organization on the state of digitisation within trade and trade finance. With the rise of numerous DLT and non-DLT consortia, what role should multilateral bodies play, and how can we create paperless trade together? The interview was held at ExCred Commodities in London.
TFG heard the latest in structured trade & receivables finance from a global transaction banking perspective. We asked Saqib Mustafa from Santander’s GTB team to give us an overview on how credit insurance is being used as a risk mitigation and capital efficiency tool for producers and traders, as well as the latest commodity finance trends from the bank.
TFG heard the latest updates in trade credit insurance and political risk appetite from the Berne Union. The Berne Union represents the export credit (ECA) and investment insurance industry. Vinco David, Secretary General spoke to TFG’s Deepesh Patel at ExCred Commodities London.
In Global Financial Integrity’s 2019 update “Illicit Financial Flows to and from 148 Developing Countries 2006 – 2015” the estimate of illicit outflows of trade related payments from developing economies for 2015 alone was counted in the hundreds of billions – greater in value in fact than the aid budgets flowing into those countries.
The global trading system is in disarray. Global economic growth is slowing, half the G20 are now operating under openly protectionist agendas, and tensions between China and the United States remain high – despite faint promise of a truce earlier this year. But over in the UK, all of this is overshadowed by the continuing dispute over Brexit. The nation is bitterly divided, and we are fast approaching what could constitute a national crisis.
Over the past few weeks, trade spats have shaken global markets. Worldwide, trade conflicts are being borne of political rather than economic woes — is this the new normal?
There is, so far as I am aware, little or no precedent for what the UK is attempting to do: seeking to reduce unfettered access to its closest and most important market – which also happens to be one of the world’s two largest. In 2018, 46% of the UK’s exports went to the EU, and 54% of UK imports came from it. Almost all countries in the world try to make trade deals, not dismantle them.
Access to affordable trade finance is a condition of success in international trade, to the same extent as rapid clearance of customs and efficient transportation. For decades, successful companies in developed countries have benefitted from the existence of mature financial industries distributing high volumes of finance and guarantees at low rates. Trade finance is normally a high volume and low-cost source of finance, because the risk of default is small, with a global average of 0.2%, and little difference across countries.
International companies are facing the dual challenge of uncertainty and transformation in how they source, produce, transport, sell and trade their goods and services. The question is how can they get ahead of the curve and thrive in this changing environment.
The EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP) was developed to promote and facilitate international trade to, from and within economies where the EBRD invests. Under the TFP, guarantees are provided to international commercial banks (confirming banks), thereby covering the political and commercial payment risk of transactions undertaken by issuing banks. Since the TFP programme was initiated in 1999 the EBRD has financed more than 24,000 transactions for a total of more than €19 billion.
Despite today’s climate of rising trade tariffs and falling trade volumes, UniCredit’s Global Head of Global Transaction Banking, Luca Corsini, claims we have reason to remain optimistic for trade finance revenues in the coming months, pointing to the rising need for security in trade transactions, the rise of digital platforms to simplify and expand service provision, and continued infrastructure development stemming from Asia.
The European Receivables Finance Industry in 2019: Predictions for growth
EORI numbers – or economic operator indicator numbers – are essential for exporters. Based off a company’s VAT number, an exporter needs an EORI in order to complete a Customs Declaration. Till now, UK businesses have not needed to complete such documentation in order to sell into Europe, but this will change with Brexit.
Specialist intelligence company EXX Africa’s director Robert Besseling assesses that African governments are increasingly integrating infrastructure investment options into a more competitive landscape that seeks to bridge the massive annual financing gap. However, accomplishing sustained economic growth, meeting revenue collection targets, and achieving positive indicators will be required to balance growing debt levels and record fiscal expansionism.
To advance trade finance’s digital transformation, financial institutions and technology providers alike are ramping up efforts to cooperate through a number of consortiums. But, to ensure these various initiatives do not create a cluster of “digital islands”, a more joined-up approach is required.