A US$ 40 million programme in Kazakhstan involving the issue by the EBRD of guarantees to support the obligations of issuing banks in Kazakhstan under irrevocable letters of credit and guarantees. The programme will be for two years and will cover both import and export transactions.
To broaden access to the EBRD's trade facilitation product to cover another country in the Bank's region of operations. The overall objective of trade facilitation programmes is to support issuing banks in their strategy of becoming acceptable trade finance partners to international banks. A secondary objective is to promote general institution building and sound banking.
The programme will promote the use of trade finance instruments that should reduce the cost of trade finance and reduce risks run by importers and exporters in Kazakhstan. The programme will increase the number of local banks able to deliver trade finance business competitively as well as the number of foreign banks prepared to grant uncollateralised credit lines. International trade will be promoted by increasing the availability of imports and facilitating the funding of exports.
Client banks or issuing banks joining the programme will be located in Kazakhstan and will have to demonstrate the need for a trade finance line and prove a satisfactory level of creditworthiness. EBRD has recently agreed to add a fourth bank to the US$ 40m Kazakhstan Trade Facilitation Programme approved in 1997. A dedicated credit line in favour of Bank TuranAlem was approved in October 1998 to add to the three credit limits already approved for Halyk Savings Bank, Almaty Merchant Bank and Tsesna Bank. These banks represent a diverse group of institutions and are responsible for conducting a significant portion of Kazakhstan's foreign trade business.
The programme will provide guarantees by the EBRD covering the reimbursement obligations of issuing banks under letters of credit issued by them in respect of imports and advance payments for exports. Guarantees will cover obligations up to a maximum of two years for imports and two-and-a-half years for advance payments for exports. Issuing banks will be granted lines to a level consistent with their needs and credit quality.
US$ 40 million (ECU 32.8 million) for the programme.
The project was classified as C/0, and therefore does not require an environmental audit or analysis. In view of the short-term and rapid turnover of trade finance operations, environmental procedures will focus on the nature of goods being traded. Banks participating in the programme will ensure that no goods are financed in any transaction which is on the EBRD's Environmental Exclusion List.
There are unlikely to be technical cooperation needs arising directly from this programme, although the Bank does not exclude the possibility of arranging technical cooperation in the future for banks to be incorporated.
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