Archive for the ‘Advisory Committee’ Category

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How to Become a Member of our Trade Finance Advisory Council

September 10, 2018

Ericka Ukrow is a Senior International Trade Specialist in the Industry & Analysis Office of Finance and Insurance Industries in the International Trade Administration and serves as the Designated Federal Officer for the Trade Finance Advisory Council.

Interested in Advising the Secretary of Commerce on Trade Finance Solutions?

I have great news! The U.S. Department of Commerce has announced the re-chartering of its Trade Finance Advisory Council (“TFAC” or the “Council”). This federal advisory committee advises the Secretary on how to expand access to finance for U.S. exporters and their foreign buyers.

What Does the TFAC Do?

During its first two-year term, the TFAC provided detailed policy and technical recommendations to enhance private and official financing options for U.S. companies—and grew to become a premier platform for government engagement with the private sector on trade finance.

In its renewed charter term, the TFAC will bring together an expanded number of trade finance professionals and thought leaders and will for the first time include, as ex-officio members, representatives from the Export-Import Bank of the United States and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The TFAC works to advance the Department’s strategic goal of increasing U.S. exports and job creation by reducing the costs, complexities, and risks of exporting. In particular, the Council:

  • Evaluates credit conditions and financing challenges faced by U.S. exporters,
  • Identifies potential resources for addressing financing gaps,
  • Examines how new financial technologies and other innovations could improve the availability and affordability of trade finance solutions,
  • Highlights trade finance-related developments in international standard setting bodies, and
  • Addresses other noteworthy concerns raised by Council members and the public.

How Is the TFAC Structured?

The TFAC is comprised of up to 25 members appointed by the Secretary of Commerce to serve for a two-year term. Members do not receive compensation for their service to the Council.

Except for those Members who are trade finance experts from academia and public policy organizations, TFAC Members express their own views and insights and those of the entity or organization and industry sector they represent. Those Members who serve as experts from academia and public policy organizations are subject to ethical standards applicable to special government employees.

What Are the Criteria for TFAC Membership?

The TFAC is seeking executive-level candidates who will reflect a balanced cross-section of U.S. trade finance users, providers, and experts from private, public, and not-for-profit organizations. We are looking for business representatives from diverse industries, regions, and company sizes—including:

  • U.S. exporters of goods and services,
  • U.S. commercial banks that provide trade finance products, cross-border payment services, or foreign exchange solutions,
  • Non-bank U.S. financial institutions that provide trade finance products, cross-border payment services, or foreign exchange solutions,
  • Associations that represent (i) U.S. exporters, and/or (ii) commercial banks or non-bank financial institutions (or other professionals) that facilitate international trade transactions,
  • U.S. companies or entities focused on trade-finance-related activities or services;
  • U.S. scholars, academic institutions, or public policy organizations with expertise in global business, trade finance, and international banking related subjects, and
  • Economic development organizations and other U.S. regional, state, and local governmental and non-governmental organizations whose missions or activities include the analysis, provision, or facilitation of trade finance products/services.

Members will be selected based on their ability to achieve the Council’s objectives, in accordance with applicable Department of Commerce guidelines and in a manner that ensures a variety and balance of views.

When is the Deadline for Membership Applications?

To be considered, applicants must submit the required documentation by 5:00 p.m. EDT, Monday, October 15, 2018 to TFAC@trade.gov.

For full membership criteria and application details, please review the Federal Register notice announcement, or the Council’s website at www.trade.gov/TFAC/.

For additional information, please contact Ericka Ukrow, Designated Federal Officer, Office of Finance and Insurance Industries, at (202) 482-0405, or at TFAC@trade.gov.

Click here to see our TFAC FAQs.

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STRENGTHENING CREDIT CONDITIONS FOR EXPORTING SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED ENTERPRISES

April 6, 2018

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

Ericka Ukrow is a Senior International Trade Specialist specializing in Financial Services at the International Trade Administration.

Photo of TFAC meeting in progress, Feb. 22, 2017. From left to right front row: TFAC Chair Kevin Klowden, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary for Services James Sullivan, Designated Federal Officer for the TFAC Ericka Ukrow.

Meeting of the TFAC, February 22, 2018. From left to right front row: TFAC Chair Kevin Klowden, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary for Services James Sullivan, Designated Federal Officer for the TFAC Ericka Ukrow.

Exporters, lenders, and researchers are working together to improve options for trade financing through the Department of Commerce’s Trade Finance Advisory Council (TFAC).

In an increasingly interconnected global economy, trade is taking a prominent role in our country’s economic growth.

The availability of finance is essential for a vigorous trading system. Most export transactions are supported by some form of financing or credit insurance. However, significant gaps in the global provision of trade finance remain.

Globally, the trade finance gap in 2017 was estimated at $1.5 trillion, with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) facing the greatest hurdles to access trade finance.

The TFAC advises the Secretary of Commerce on effective ways to increase access to financing resources for all U.S. exporters, especially SMEs. With up to 20 private-sector members representing financial and insurance services providers, manufacturing firms, trade finance industry associations, and research organizations, the TFAC’s thought-leadership coordinates perspectives from diverse stakeholders into the development of policies and programs in this area.

These insights help direct Commerce’s actions toward conducive framework conditions that would amplify U.S. exporters access to strategic educational and financing resources.

Over the last fifteen months, the TFAC has focused on:

  1. export finance best practices;
  2. enabling new private sector channels for the flow of credit to exporting SMEs;
  3. education strategies to reduce the information gap across government, community banks, and other enablers of SME finance;
  4. addressing financing process obstacles that impede SME credit;
  5. analyzing trade credit insurance underutilization in the United States; and
  6. reviewing the performance of alternative export credit agencies’ models.
Photo of TFAC meeting in progress, Feb. 17, 2018. From left to right: Alan Beard and Patricia Gomez (new members), Lou Tierno – Fulton Financial Corporation, Stacey Facter – Bankers Association for Finance and Trade, Peter Bowe – Ellicott Dredges, Gary Mendell - Meridian Finance Group, David Herer – ABC-Amega.

Meeting of the TFAC at the Commerce Department, February 22, 2018. From left to right: Alan Beard and Patricia Gomez (new members), Lou Tierno – Fulton Financial Corporation, Stacey Facter – Bankers Association for Finance and Trade, Peter Bowe – Ellicott Dredges, Gary Mendell – Meridian Finance Group, David Herer – ABC-Amega.

At the February TFAC meeting, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recognized the Council for its critical role in advancing the Administration’s goal of reducing U.S. trade deficits by empowering more SMEs with financing solutions that would increase their export opportunities.

“While we seek to level the playing field and negotiate more favorable terms with our trading partners, we count on you to continue empowering SMEs in the international arena. Without adequate access to finance, it is difficult for U.S. exporters to sell their products and services globally.”

He also encouraged Council members to identify how emerging technologies, such as blockchain, could facilitate trade finance solutions and reduce risk for U.S. SME exporters.

The TFAC also welcomed Secretary Wilbur Ross’ new appointed members this year:

  • Steven Bash, Senior Vice President, International Banking, City National Bank
  • Alan Beard, Managing Director, Interlink Capital Strategies
  • Russell D’Souza, Vice President, Corporate Treasurer, Hanesbrands, Inc.
  • Patricia Gomes, Managing Director, Regional Head Global Trade and Receivables Finance North America, HSBC Bank USA, N.A.
  • William Browning, Senior Vice President, Business Credit – Trade Finance Manager, First National Bank
Photo of TFAC meeting in progress, Feb. 22, 2018. From left to right: Todd McCracken - National Small Business Association, Sergio Rodriguera - The Credit Junction, Karsten Herrmann - Munich Reinsurance America, Tim Gaul - Caterpillar, and new members Russell D’Souza and Steven Bash.

Meeting of the TFA at the Commerce Department, February 22, 2018. From left to right: Todd McCracken – National Small Business Association, Sergio Rodriguera – The Credit Junction, Karsten Herrmann – Munich Reinsurance America, Tim Gaul – Caterpillar, and new members Russell D’Souza and Steven Bash.

These new appointees expand the Council’s expertise in their representation of both users and providers of trade finance in the manufacturing, banking, and management consulting services sectors.

The TFAC expects to discuss improving the credit conditions and diversifying financing sources for U.S. exporters at their Spring meeting.

If you would like to learn more about the TFAC, you can visit our website or you can contact us at TFC@trade.gov.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the TFAC, stay tuned! The Council may be looking for applicants this summer. You can learn more here.