Getting Ukraine to become Fluent in EXIM.

How can US Exporters increase their exports to Ukraine and what do the latest developments mean for US EXIM programs there?

Featured Image -- 4182  Since the original Fluent In EXIM post was published on February 11th, several important events took place, which potentially may have an effect on how exports to Ukraine are financed by the Export Import Bank of the United States (US EXIM).

  • New President of Ukraine was inaugurated a few days ago, potentially putting the country on a different political course.
  • New, closer, date has been set for the elections of People’s Deputies into Ukrainian Rada
  • US Congress confirmed three new Board members thus opening the  way for US EXIM to finance  projects over $10 million with a duration of financing  longer than seven years

Although not on the same level of importance as the above events, in March, in partnership with the US Ukraine Business Council (USUBC), our Firm held a financing workshop in Washington DC to help participants learn about available government financing programs, with the US EXIM  representative and its authorized broker prominently prominently featured on the agenda.  We have also received numerous EXIM financing inquiries from Ukraine, particularly in the areas of agriculture, renewable energy, transportation and healthcare. A second workshop for USUBC members and invited guests will take  place in Lviv later this month.

In this post, we will examine what, if any, effect these changes shall have on the US EXIM’s programs currently in place for that country. We will  also look at the ways Ukrainian importers and US exporters can best take advantage of these programs.

Currently, US EXIM is only open in Ukraine for short (financing of trade up to one year) and medium-term (financing of $10 million per project up  to seven years)  programs. Thus reopening the US EXIM for the long-term programs will not have any effect on Ukrainian export transactions.

Election of  the new President and upcoming Rada elections also are  not expected to  affect the US EXIM programs for the foreseeable future.

Yet despite the absence of the long-term programs, US EXIM bank remains an effective tool for US exporters wishing to export goods and services to Ukraine. Under its short-term program, the Bank will insure against buyer non-payment and political risks up to 95 percent of the foreign receivables’ invoice value, thus allowing exporters to safely extend open account terms to foreign buyers (both private and  government) for periods up to one year, with 90-day, 120-day terms being most prevalent.  This is done by putting in place either a Single Buyer, or Multi-Buyer credit insurance by the exporter and then qualifying and insuring individual importers under these policies. Depending on the policy limits sought, EXIM employs different underwriting standards and requires increasingly deeper credit checks and financial documentation.IMG-1cae7e700ec217303b52f13cd14e1c96-V

Most qualified US exports, other than sales to of alcohol, tobacco and adult content, as well as sales to foreign military, may be insured; even equipment and services related to nuclear industry.  In Ukraine, larger private transactions will require a repayment guarantee from one  of the  five or so top banks and on the government side a sovereign guarantee is needed. Since it is almost impossible to obtain a UA government’s guarantee for smaller transaction amounts, the US exporters should focus selling their wares to the private sector.   The credit insurance may be obtained either from the Bank directly, or at no additional cost, through a cadre of US EXIM approved insurance brokers whose list is found on the exim.gov site.

Under its medium term programs, US EXIM can cover up to 85 percent of qualified US exports, including eligible freight and duty costs. As mentioned above, financing limit is $10 million per distinct transaction, and repayment terms of up to seven years apply.  For projects, which require local construction or installation (ex solar farms, grain silos), up to 30 percent of the financed amount maybe used to cover local costs performed by Ukrainian companies.

Depending on the project, repayment of the financing may be structured as interest only for up to two  years, with the balance of principal and interest paid out evenly over the remainder of the loan term.  Services such as engineering, architecture, design, legal and financial, all may be financed under this program.

Although US EXIM can lend funds directly at what is commonly known as a CIRR  rate, more often it  issues a its AAA rated guarantee and the exporters then approach an approved bank to secure financing rates, which are  usually more advantageous, as they are based on LIBOR and can either be variable, or fixed depending on the borrower’s preference.  Underwriting requirements of bank guarantee  for the private transactions, or sovereign guarantee for government purchases also apply. Many borrowers choose to finance the remaining 15% percent through those same  local banks  thus effectively securing 100% financing for their projects.

Since the process of securing financing and insurance coverage  through any government agency, or an international financial institution is quite complex, we always recommend  that clients engage a qualified and experienced financial adviser and a very competent law firm with extensive experience working with the US EXIM Bank.

To get more information on the upcoming Fluent In EXIM workshop in Ukraine, please  contact MorganWilliams at mwilliams@usubc.org

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Amendment re-authorizing EXIM advances in the U.S. Senate, but the House refuses to take action

Reprinted from CC Solutions blog

  • Even though the U.S. Senate supported EXIM by including its reauthorization in its version of the highway bill, the U.S. House is refusing to vote on it, instead voting for a short-term highway bill that does not include the reauthorization. Unless the long-term highway bill with the EXIM reauthorization is passed through conference committee (which is unlikely), EXIM’s reauthorization will have to wait until September. Here is a link to help you find your representatives, send emails and let your voice be heard.
  • All of EXIM’s approved transactions will continue to be honored regardless of the reauthorization vote. Existing facilities will continue to disburse and insurance policies will remain in place.
  • Moody’s stated in a report that Boeing would be hit hard if Congress fails to authorize EXIM in the coming weeks. Moody’s also raised concern about the competitive disadvantage Boeing will suffer since its competitors can readily obtain financed by their international export credit agencies. General Electric will also be hard hit if EXIM is not reauthorized,
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