How to Access Trade Finance

A Guide for Exporting SMEs

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This guide helps small exporters understand how to obtain finance, outlining the credit process of financial institutions, pre-application preparation, finding appropriate lenders and loan repayment. Models for business plans and loan requests are included. The guide also examines barriers to finance for small firms, and what financial institutions perceive as lending risks.

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Understanding your financial needs: Do you really need to borrow?

All businesses require financing. This is particularly true if they are engaged in international trade. The trade cycle or transaction (including the time to collect receivables) is usually longer than that of domestic trade. International trade requires that firms not only have more available capital, but are also sufficiently liquid. The equipment for export-oriented production may be costly, while the working capital needed to pay for the employees and material inputs can be equally, if not more, burdensome. Additionally, unexpected expenses can arise, and they can be substantial – from delays in transport and customs clearance to expensive dispute resolution or legal proceedings in foreign jurisdictions, to unexpected turmoil in foreign markets.

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