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Basel Committee Revises Liquidity Coverage Ratio
On January 6, the Basel Committee indicated that it will allow banks more time and flexibility to meet the Basel III capital requirements. Specifically, the Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR), which promotes the short-term resilience of a bank's liquidity risk profile, has been adjusted to expand the range of eligible high-quality liquid assets and timetable for implementation. The minimum LCR requirement will begin at 60% in January 2015 and annually increase 10 percentage points until it reaches 100% in 2019.

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International Chamber of Commerce Unveils New Uniform Rules on Forfaiting
The International Chamber of Commerce new uniform rules on forfaiting (URF) went into effect on January 1, 2013. These rules provide for the sale of instruments used for financing trade, including bills of exchange, documentary credits, promissory notes, and invoice purchases. This single set of rules is expected to become the global standard for both the primary (originators of transactions or exporters) and secondary (trade of transactions between banks and financial institutions) forfaiting markets.

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North America

International Trade Administration Releases Updated Trade Finance Guide
The U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration has released the 2012 version of the Trade Finance Guide: A Quick Reference for U.S. Exporters. The publication has proven to be a popular resource for small and medium-sized exporters looking for guidance on how to get paid for overseas transactions.

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Mexico Postpones 2013 Tariff Reduction
Mexico's Ministry of the Economy announced via the Official Gazette (Diario Oficial de la Federacion) a one-year postponement of the entry into force of tariff reductions scheduled for 2013. The decree amends the general import and export duties (Decreto por el que se modifica la Tarifa de la Ley de los Impuestos Generales de Importación y de Exportación) reduction for 94 tariff subheadings associated with textile, clothing and footwear products, approximately 7% of the total products. The Ministry of Economy believes the delay will allow domestic businesses additional time to review their plans and production models while generating significant employment and economic development in various regions throughout the country.

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Mexico and U.S. Announce Mutual Recognition of Trade Programs
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), part of the Department of Homeland Security, and Mexico's Tax Administration Service (SAT) announced intentions to recognize the other's supply chain security program. The January 18, 2013 statement means that members of the U.S. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) members will receive reciprocal benefits from the Mexico's New Certified Companies Scheme (NEEC), and vice versa. Expected to come into force in 2014, the mutual recognition should further secure the international supply chain and facilitate trade between Mexico and the United States.

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Latin America

Argentina Incorporates MERCOSUR Customs Code Law
Announced on December 13, 2012 via the Boletin Oficial, Argentina published Law No 26,795 incorporating the MERCOSUR Customs Code into the legal system. The MERCOSUR trade agreement calls for the cancellation of dual Common External Fee (AEC), allocation of customs revenue and harmonization of legislation among member countries, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Argentina is the first country to adopt the Customs Code, which will enter into effect after adopted by all member countries.

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Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA)

Coface Extends Unconditional Guarantees to non-Airbus Aircraft
The French Parliament passed a law allowing Coface, the French export credit agency, to offer 100% unconditional on-demand guarantees to aircraft with French content, specifically fixed-wing aircraft with a take-off weight of 10 tons and helicopters with a take-off weight greater than one ton. Article 84 of the Corrective Finance Law (Loi de Finances Rectificative) is expected to go into force in March 2013. Previously restricted to Airbus, this legislation change is expected to drive more aviation Coface-backed bonds with companies such as ATR, Dassault Falcon, and Eurocopter.

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Asia Pacific (APAC)

India AEO Guidelines Revised
Upon concluding a pilot Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program for supply chain security, India's Ministry of Finance, Central Board of Customs & Excise (CBEC) released revised guidelines via Circular No. 28/2012. The formally adopted guidelines address:

  • Inclusion of stringent requirements for business partner security, procedural security, etc.
  • Inclusion of authorized couriers and custodians in the AEO Program.
  • Automatic disqualification if the applicant does not provide required information.
  • Non-requirement of the compliance records of advocates directly employed by the applicant.
  • Time limit of 90 days should be reckoned from the date of furnishing of complete information.

The CBEC also decided to list benefits to various types of approved AEOs for importers, exporters, logistic service providers, custodians or terminal operators, custom house agents, and warehouse operators.

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