Local businesses in Azerbaijan will have more opportunities to promote their goods through trade following a $1 million trade finance line from the EBRD to Azerigasbank.

The finance is extended under the EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme, which promotes foreign trade with central and eastern Europe and the CIS. Through the programme, the EBRD provides guarantees to international confirming banks. The programme can guarantee any genuine trade transaction associated with exports from and imports to the EBRD's countries of operations. More than 70 issuing banks in the Bank's region of operations participate in the programme together with around 450 confirming banks throughout the world. Turnover exceeds €1 billion, which has been used to finance or guarantee some 2,000 transactions.

Kurt Geiger, Business Group Director for Financial Institutions at the EBRD, said this financing is important because it will promote international and intra-regional trade opportunities in Azerbaijan, which can help boost the economy. Mr Geiger added that the EBRD is keen to support trade in the region, and that this project is a good example of the Bank’s commitment.

The cooperation between the EBRD and Azerigasbank began in 1998, when they signed an agreement under an Institutional Development Programme to help bring Azerigasbank in line with international standards. The bank provides a wide range of services to corporate customers, as well as SMEs and individuals, including Visa and Mastercard services.

The Trade Facilitation Programme is being strongly supported, through risk-sharing funds, by the governments of Austria, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

The EBRD has a portfolio in Azerbaijan worth €325 million in sectors as diverse as banking, property, power, water, transport, SMEs and natural resources.

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