Thierry Senechal participated to the EBRD Belarus Trade Finance 2017 Conference to provide an analysis on the constraints on access to finance in the region (with a regional benchmark on Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine). He argued that access to finance is not necessarily the main barriers for corporates to embark on cross-border trade (in many countries, the banking sector is fairly liquid with good facilities to provide trade finance). It was argued that non-tariff-barriers constitute the main barrier to cross-border trade. Cumbersome customs procedures and long processing times for cross-border transactions, limited automation of customs operations, inadequate cross-border facilities, and limited infrastructure for providing information to the private sector are key impediments preventing SMEs to engage in cross-border operations. It was noted that the lack of ambitious reforms is falling disproportionally on local SMEs, resulting in credit rationing, high costs of funding, and limited used of trade finance.

The presentations for this conference is available at http://wwe-conferences.com/?event=blears-trade-finance-2017