The EBRD Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP) has passed another milestone by financing its 20,000th transaction. The landmark was reached with the issuance of a €18,000 guarantee by order of Bank of Cyprus PC Ltd, Nicosia, Cyprus to Banca Popolare di Milano, Italy. The guarantee will cover the import of clothing from Italy to Cyprus.
Established in 1999, the TFP was developed to promote and facilitate international trade to, from and within the regions where the EBRD invests. Under the TFP, guarantees are provided to international commercial banks, thereby covering the political and commercial payment risk of transactions undertaken by participating banks (issuing banks) in the EBRD’s countries of operations.
A major objective of the programme in Cyprus is to support the restoration of international trade links and correspondent banking relationships in trade finance. Since the start of the TFP in Cyprus in 2015, the programme has facilitated more than 160 foreign trade transactions to the amount of €70 million. These transactions were financed by three Cypriot banks and have supported foreign trade with 24 countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
“Transaction number 20,000 serves as a good example of how the programme supports banks and their clients in Cyprus in growing their international business,” says Rudolf Putz, EBRD Associate Director and Head of the TFP. “The success of our programme is a sign of the appetite in the market to expand and strengthen trade relationships. This is encouraging because where there is trade, there is growth.”
More than 80 per cent of deals concluded since the start of the TFP in Cyprus have covered transactions below €1 million. The value of the 20,000th transaction of €18,000 therefore fits well into such category of transactions mainly benefiting small and medium-sized enterprises – in this case, a small importer of clothing in Cyprus.
In 2016, the programme’s best year to date, the TFP’s business volume rose to €1.543 billion from €867 million in 2015. The programme now includes more than 100 issuing banks in the EBRD region, with limits exceeding €1 billion in total, and over 800 confirming banks throughout the world.
Supporting trade is one of the EBRD’s key efforts in strengthening the economies where it invests and promoting integration. The Bank today operates in more than 35 countries, from Morocco to Mongolia and from Estonia to Egypt. Since its establishment in 1991, the EBRD has invested more than €117 billion in over 4,700 projects.
By Axel Reiserer