h1

Partnership and Collaboration in Trade Finance Education For Washington State SME Exporters

December 7, 2017

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

Yuki Fujiyama is a trade finance specialist in the Office of Finance and Insurance Industries and the author of the Trade Finance Guide: A Quick Reference for U.S. Exporters.  Diane Mooney is the Director of the U.S. Commercial Service Seattle.

Participants of the EFACW Trade Finance Workshop pose for a photo on Sept. 14 at the World Trade Center Seattle.

Participants of the EFACW Trade Finance Workshop on Sept. 14 at the World Trade Center Seattle.

With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside of our borders, U.S. companies must take greater advantage of the tremendous business opportunities in fast-growing markets around the world.  Exporting enables U.S. businesses to expand markets, generate new distribution and revenue streams, and weather changes in the domestic economy.

Despite the clear benefits of exporting, however, many U.S. businesses, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), face challenges in going global. The obstacles most often cited by these SMEs include: (1) the risk of non-payment by foreign buyers; and (2) the accessibility of trade finance.

To help address such challenges, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA), the federal government’s lead export promotion agency; and the Export Finance Assistance Center of Washington (EFACW), a non-profit and a fiscal year 2017 ITA strategic partner; recently presented a half-day interactive trade finance workshop for Washington state SMEs considering going global or expanding export operations.

The interactive workshop followed the format as outlined in the U.S. Commerce Department’s Trade Finance Guide and helped participants learn how to: (1) assess and mitigate the risk of non- and delayed payment by foreign buyers; (2) select an appropriate payment method; (3) evaluate and access export finance options; and (4) manage foreign exchange risk.

The workshop, which was held in September at the World Trade Center Seattle, was part of a joint ongoing effort between ITA and EFACW to help Washington state SMEs become better educated about trade finance options and the risks associated with cross-border transactions. For exporters, trade finance is essential for international trade transactions and is a means to turn export opportunities into actual sales. By effectively managing the risks associated with doing business internationally, exporters can ensure they’ll get paid in a timely manner.

Brent Sisco of Acrowood Corporation, an Everett, Washington-based forest products equipment manufacturer, praised the workshop, noting that “This training was very beneficial because ITA trade finance expert Yuki Fujiyama provided straight forward descriptions, reviewed pros and cons of the most common techniques companies use to extend credit to overseas customers and the offered in depth explanations after the presentation.” 

Michael Kuehner, President of Greenwood Clean Energy, a Redmond, Washington-based privately-held renewable energy company developing biomass fired heating appliances, agreed, commenting that “The workshop was a great introduction to the complex world of export financing. In particular, Yuki Fujiyama’s session on Trade Finance was invaluable to those of us new to exporting. The introduction and the resource he provided, The Trade Finance Guide, has already helped us become better informed and active in pursing international business.”

EFACW Director Zara Castillo concurred with the sentiments expressed by Mr. Sisco and Mr. Kuehner, emphasizing that “Many other attendees remarked that our joint training workshop was very educational and beneficial.  EFACW looks forward to our continued partnership with ITA in serving Washington state SME exporters.”

Main Entrance of the World Trade Center Seattle with Flags of Different Countries and the Port of Seattle.

Main Entrance of the World Trade Center Seattle with Flags of Different Countries and the Port of Seattle.

Other partners who collaborated with ITA and EFACW to participate in the workshop as presenters included: U.S. Export-Import Bank, U.S. Small Business Administration, Key Bank, and Sallyport Commercial Finance.

In addition to the September 14th workshop, EFACW actively collaborates with the U.S. Commercial Services Washington, which operates ITA’s two local U.S. export assistance centers in Seattle and Spokane, to assist Washington state-based SMEs with export planning and foreign market sales.

In 2016, Washington’s $79.6 billion in goods exports helped contribute to the $2.21 trillion of U.S. goods and services exports. In 2015, over 375,000 U.S. jobs were supported by goods exports from WashingtonIn 2014, over 11,000 SMEs in Washington exported their goods to global markets, accounting for 90 percent of Washington goods exporters.

ITA offers helpful videos that are all about getting paid and financing options available to U.S. companies beginning to export.

Do you need more info on trade finance? Our Trade Finance Guide is a great place to start!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s