Global Trade Finance IFC

Global trade is a vital artery to economic growth. IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program currently includes more than 58

issuing banks, covers 21 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, and represents a total of $1.95 billion in approved trade lines.

The most active banks are in Argentina, Brazil, Guatemala, Honduras, and Uruguay. Transactions commonly average $1.2 million for pre-export and import financing, supporting mainly agribusiness and infrastructure industries. Despite recent capital flow constrictions, IFC remains committed to keeping trade finance alive for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the region.


As a small bank in a small market, Costa Rica-based Banco Improsa was at a distinct disadvantage when it came to providing trade finance for the SMEs that make up the bulk of its business.

“We used to lose about 15 transactions each year because we did not have relationships with banks in other parts of the world, especially in Asia and India, that were willing to bear the risk, ” recalled Bernal Allen, Banco Improsa’s financial manager.

IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program (GTFP), which provides guarantees for risk mitigation in emerging markets, changed all that. After joining the program in June 2009, Banco Improsa gained access to a global network of international banks which help facilitate trade among SMEs - an essential engine of economic growth, representing approximately 70 percent of Costa Rica’s GDP. In its first transaction with the program, Banco Improsa financed a small, family-owned business in San Jose, which imported notebooks from an SME in Mumbai, India.

“Before IFC, we could not have helped the company, and we would have lost the transaction, ” Allen said. “IFC’s guarantee helped us close this deal by covering the country risk and credit risk that the correspondent bank wanted to mitigate.”

Since launching the trade finance program in 2005, IFC has issued approximately $12 billion in guarantees worldwide. In Latin America and the Caribbean we have provided $1.95 billion in trade finance support since February 2006, when the program began in the region.

The GTFP links more than 360 participating confirming and issuing banks - including more than 100 in Latin America and the Caribbean - into a global network that expands access to finance for key productive sectors. It has also helped mitigate the regional impact of the financial crisis; local issuing banks have turned to IFC to facilitate trade funding in times of tight liquidity, while confirming banks have used IFC’s AAA credit-risk guarantee to diminish their risk.


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