ADB trade finance program expands presence in Myanmar

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and United Amara Bank (UAB) signed today a trade finance agreement to provide guarantees of up to $4 million a year to support trade in Myanmar. UAB is the second local bank in Myanmar to join ADB’s Trade Finance Program (TFP) and is one of the key trade finance banks in the country.

“We’re pleased to add UAB to the Trade Finance Program and expand our activities in Myanmar, an exciting market with great potential”, said Steven Beck, head of trade finance at ADB. “We’ll be working with UAB to support trade growth, including among small and medium-sized businesses, which will help create jobs.”

Emerging from decades of economic and political isolation, Myanmar is one of Asia’s fastest growing economies with gross domestic product exceeding 7% every year since 2012. Total trade volumes have also grown robustly by an average of 14% annually during the past half-decade. Myanmar’s imports have grown 19% per year since 2012 as vigorous economic growth spurred demand for capital and consumer goods.

“This is a historic day for United Amara Bank and for Myanmar,” said UAB CEO Thein Lwin. “As our country opens up to the world, strong, trustworthy financial institutions such as UAB must support the advancement and long-term sustainability of local businesses. Our partnership with ADB, one of the most respected financial institutions in the world, marks an important milestone for UAB in this respect and is an achievement that will greatly benefit the people of Myanmar.”

ADB’s guarantee is issued in favor of international partner banks of TFP to support the payment obligations of local banks in developing Asia in respect of the trade transactions of their clients. Since some markets are not well served by the international financial community, ADB’s guarantee establishes new or increases existing bank credit lines and reduces cash collateral requirements, supporting trade that would not otherwise happen.

TFP’s support is complemented by a regular series of workshops and seminars. This training program is available to commercial bank staff and government officials in order to increase knowledge and expertise in trade finance products and operations, risk management in trade transactions, and fraud prevention.

Backed by ADB’s AAA credit rating, the TFP provides guarantees and loans to over 200 partner banks to support trade, enabling more companies throughout Asia to engage in import and export activities. With dedicated trade finance specialists and a response time of 24 hours, the program has established itself as a key partner in the international trade community, providing fast, reliable, and responsive support to fill gaps in the region’s most challenging markets.

Since 2009, the TFP has supported more than 8,200 small- and medium-sized enterprises across the region, with about 11,800 transactions valued at over $23.6 billion, in sectors ranging from commodities and capital goods, to medical supplies and consumer goods.

To increase its capacity to support trade, and in an effort to draw the private sector more into developing Asia, TFP shares and distributes risk with international financial institutions. Swiss Re Corporate Solutions and International Enterprise (IE) Singapore have once again extended their support of the TFP in Myanmar. IE Singapore is the government agency that spearheads the overseas growth of Singapore-based companies and promotes international trade.

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Mridha Shihab Mahmud is a writer, content editor and photojournalist. He works as a staff reporter at News Hour. He is also involved in humanitarian works through a trust called Safety Assistance For Emergencies (SAFE). Mridha also works as film director. His passion is photography. He is the chief respondent person in Mymensingh Film & Photography Society. Besides professional attachment, he loves graphics designing, painting, digital art and social networking.
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