More businesses in Uzbekistan, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), will benefit from export and import opportunities available through a trade finance agreement signed between the EBRD and the country’s leading lender, the National Bank for Foreign Economic Activity of the Republic of Uzbekistan (NBU).
In response to the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact, the EBRD is dedicating the entirety of its work to support its regions. A vital part of this effort is an increase in much needed EBRD trade finance support that in Uzbekistan alone has now reached US$ 220 million.
The increase in trade finance will help mitigate the disruptions that severe market conditions have caused in trade and supply chains. This is particularly important when the availability of commercial trade finance credit lines is likely to remain constrained.
An additional trade limit of up to US$ 70 million to NBU under the TFP will help domestic exporters and importers continue their business activities. It follows a package of up to US$ 150 million made available to Asaka Bank, Ipoteka Bank and UzPromstroybank under the TFP earlier this month.
NBU operates 93 branches across Uzbekistan. The bank is well placed to provide much-needed support to Uzbek businesses to enable them to better manage commodity stocks and plan for longer trade cycles.
Despite a decline in exports and imports in Uzbekistan in the first quarter of 2020 by around 3 per cent, trade remains important for the national economy: in 2019 alone the country’s trade turnover was around US$ 43 billion.
The EBRD also offers access to compliance and advances trade finance skills: over 500 local bankers from commercial banks and the Central Bank of Uzbekistan have received professional specialised training since 2017.
The EBRD Trade Finance e-Learning Programme scholarships for trade finance are one of the largest among IFIs. They were extended to staff of local banks that are currently at home but don’t have access to their banks’ systems.
The EBRD has also created an online knowledge-sharing platform, where professionals from Armenia, Georgia and Ireland help Uzbek bankers to discuss cases in trade finance.
An additional trade limit of up to US$ 70 million to NBU under the TFP will help domestic exporters and importers continue their business activities