By Gordon Platt
BEST TRADE FINANCE PROGRAM
International Finance Corporation (IFC)
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, offers programs that focus on supporting trade in areas that have the greatest impact on the poor. Georgina Baker, IFC director of global trade and supply chain solutions, says: “In emerging markets, the need for trade finance is greater than ever before. As European banks, traditional financiers of global trade and commodity flows, grapple with increased capital requirements and the rising costs of KYC [know your customer] requirements, small businesses in the poorest countries are at the greatest risk of seeing their trade support dry up.
“IFC remains extremely concerned about the ability of emerging markets firms to access trade credit,” adds Baker. “To address this issue, in October 2012 we expanded the ceiling of our flagship Global Trade Finance Program (GTFP) to $5 billion. This enables us to channel more financing to support importers and exporters in the developing world.”
Baker notes: “Our work under the GTFP has opened the door for IFC to engage for the first time in more than 15 fragile and conflict-affected areas. Through trade finance IFC can pursue critical development objectives—like assisting small businesses, supporting the food and agricultural industry and investing in the world’s poorest countries—thereby helping improve the lives of people who need us most.”
BEST TRADE FINANCE MULTILATERAL INSTITUTION OR EXPORT CREDIT AGENCY
Export-Import Bank of the US
Export credit agencies can play an important role in getting their host economies growing again after a recession. They also fill the gaps in trade financing available from the private sector.
In fiscal year 2012, the Export-Import Bank of the US provided a record $35.8 billion in authorizations, including more than $6.1 billion directly supporting small-business export sales.
Fred Hochberg, Ex-Im Bank chairman and president, says: “Over the past fiscal year, we have partnered with many commercial banks to facilitate US exports and support an estimated 255,000 American jobs. The banks play a critical role in our efforts to give American companies, especially small businesses, access to the resources they need to grow and create jobs here at home.”
Ex-Im Bank loans to women- and minority-owned small business exporters rose almost 17% last year. “In the past five years, Ex-Im Bank, working with US exporters and banks, has created or sustained over one million private-sector jobs and sent $1.6 billion to the US treasury,” Hochberg says.