U.S. Ex-Im Bank Reports Record Year
In its annual filing, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (U.S. Ex-Im Bank) reported a record number of transactions in 2012 – totaling $35.8 billion. Providing liquidity at attractive rates to U.S.-based small and medium businesses, U.S. Ex-Im Bank loans are backed by the U.S. government. The bank charges fees to the loans which are then used to cover administrative costs, with all surplus money returned to the U.S. Treasury.
U.S. Importer Self-Assessment Program Changes
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) announced changes to the Importer Self-Assessment Program, which allows companies to assess their own compliance with CBP laws and regulations instead of undergoing a comprehensive CBP audit. Announced via Federal Register Volume 77, number 194, pages 61012-61014 and effective October 5, 2012, a company that has successfully passed a CBP Focused Assessment is eligible to transfer into the Importer Self-Assessment program within 12 months if it meets additional program requirements. The program applicant must also be a U.S. or Canadian resident importer, obtain Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) membership, develop a risk-based self-testing plan, and agree to meet all other Importer Self-Assessment program requirements. An Application Review Meeting is no longer required.
U.S. Ex-Im Bank to Reinsure Coface Export Credit Insurance
Announced in October, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (U.S. Ex-Im Bank) will reinsure Coface North America Insurance Company's issue of export credit insurance. U.S. Ex-Im Bank will provide reinsurance for export-credit insurance policies written by Coface North America to protect the accounts receivables and cash flow of U.S. companies exporting goods and services overseas. U.S. Ex-Im Bank's reinsurance product was introduced two years ago with the intention of helping U.S. small business exporters obtain short-term export credit in support of increased overseas sales.
Brazil Import Duty Increase on 100 Items
In a move aimed to support struggling industries, Brazil's Ministry of Development announced a temporary increase of import duties on a list of 100 products. The increase became effective on October 1, 2012, and impacts goods from the plastic, appliances, equipment and appliance industries. Exporters to Brazil should expect to see an increase of 2% to 25% on import duties, almost doubling many of the previous rates. This move is viewed by global exporters as another step toward growing protectionism in Brazil as it reacts to the current global economic environment.
UK Promotes Supply Chain Finance
In October 2012, UK's Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced an initiative designed to release billions of pounds to support the supply chain finance needs of small and medium-sized enterprises. The program will allow small companies to access cash flow quicker while large corporates benefit with a more reliable supply chain, as their critical suppliers will be less likely to fail due to liquidity needs. The program is being considered by 38 FTSE 100 companies, with hopes of providing access to £20 billion of cheaper finance to suppliers – critical considering a recent report from International Trade Monitor claims 30% of companies polled noted that credit availability is their number one concern in this uncertain economic environment.
RMB Transactions Continue to Increase
The RMB, China's currency, is steadily climbing up the ranks becoming the 15th largest trade settlement currency with a .15% market share as of July 2012, signaling that corporates with Asia-based business interests are looking to conduct more transactions in RMB. The euro and U.S. dollar remain the top payment currencies with 43% and 31% market share, respectively. To become a top five settlement currency, the RMB needs to increase market share to 2%.
Asian Development Bank Launches Supply Chain Finance Program
In early November 2012, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced the creation of a Supply Chain Finance Program (SCFP) to provide liquidity to small and medium-sized businesses in Asia. The program aims to bring more than $1 billion to help cash-strapped businesses with their growth objectives. The ADB is supplying up to $200 million for the SCFP and expects to attract an additional $300 million in private sector investments.
India Mandates Electronic Payment of Customs Duty
India's Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) announced the mandatory electronic payment of duties for importers registered under the Accredited Clients program and importers with customs duty of one lakh rupees or more. The September 2012 announcement was documented via Circular 24/2012-Customs and went into effect from September 17. The measure is intended to facilitate trade by reducing importer transaction costs and expediting payments to help speed goods clearance and release. India first introduced electronic payment of duties in 2007 on a voluntary basis.