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WTO reveals details of new Financial Stability Board dialogue

Global / 23-05-18 / by

In an exclusive interview with GTR, Marc Auboin, economic counsellor at the World Trade Organisation, assesses the impact that the severance of correspondent banking relationships is having on trade. He also discusses the progress of new developments, including a recent dialogue that the WTO and IFC have struck up with the Financial Stability Board (FSB).


GTR: What long-term effect is derisking having on the trade finance gap?

Auboin: It makes the gap persistent. Normally, the gap is mostly developmental and hence supposed to be transitory. Contrary to the perception that finance always flows and adapts quicker than the real economy, trade actually moves faster into new frontier countries than the ability of the local financial sector to support that new trade.

Think of the countries currently taking over some labour-intensive industries that China is delocalising: Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Bangladesh and so on. At the beginning of the process, the growth of production and trade in these countries is faster than the capacity of local banks to support it – either in terms of human capacity or in terms of banks’ balance sheet, risk management capacity, etc. This normal transitory stage lasts until the local financial sector catches up: for some time, such countries will need to ‘import’ trade finance and know-how. Multilateral development banks’ trade finance programmes are designed to help in this process.

With derisking, supply channels for such ‘imports’ are being severely constrained. With less active bank relationships, trade finance flows and guarantees are concentrated locally on fewer banks and hence reach fewer traders. Persistent derisking reduces the chances of successful integration of emerging economies in global trade by starving their new traders of the finance they need to be successful.


GTR: Are we seeing heightened concerns regarding financial exclusion?

Auboin: Yes, because this is a global phenomenon affecting all cross-border banking flows and all regions.

Concerns have been voiced since 2015 in several documents of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Based on such analyses, a work programme was established in 2016 by the FSB to address some aspects of the reduction of correspondent banking relationships (CBRs), with regular progress reports to the G20 finance ministers.

We have been discussing the impact of derisking on trade finance for some time now at the WTO, including at the ‘expert group on trade finance’, with the support of the Asian Development Bank’s global trade finance gap studies. The WTO director-general has been personally involved in raising the issues.

We agree with the general diagnosis of the bank that the impact of the withdrawal of CBRs on certain countries is systemic for them if left unaddressed. Derisking disrupts the few but nevertheless essential cross-border financial services that they may have with the rest of the world, such as trade finance and remittances. It leads to financial exclusion for certain categories of customers, particularly SMEs, money or value transfer services and non-profit organisations, which provide important services for the livelihood of large segments of the population.

According to the FSB, some of the most affected countries are in the Caribbean, the Pacific Islands, the Middle East, some sub-regions of Africa, and in Central and developing East Asia, for example. As derisking affects trade finance, financial exclusion leads to trade exclusion as well. In extreme cases, its endangers the supply of essential imports and the shipment of essential exports in the affected countries – when they are left with only a handful of correspondent banking relationship and/or when no one wishes to clear the dollars necessary to complete the trade transactions.

One important dimension to understand the impact of derisking on trade is the fact that trade finance in the affected countries is distributed almost exclusively through banks; the alternatives which might exist in more developed countries, such as factoring and credit insurance, and which might allow for inter-company lending, do not exist in the poorer countries.


GTR: How are emerging market banks coping with derisking in this new environment?

Auboin: Situations vary across regions and countries.

In the Caribbean, some institutions have reportedly been able to find replacement correspondent banking relationships or to rely on remaining ones. Of course, the ‘selection effect’ on end-user clients is quite strong.

In other regions, local financial institutions have been calling on larger financial institutions, including regional development banks, to clear the US dollars needed for trade as US banks have disappeared from their landscape. There are several of such examples in Africa.

In the most extreme cases, some financial institutions have been virtually disenfranchised from the international financial system. We have heard stories in some countries of Central Asia and Africa, in which there is no other alternative left to traders than to pay for their merchandises in cash.

In all these cases, the greater selectivity by banks on their customers is affecting mainly SMEs and new traders, because they have less credit history, less background information to share with their banks, and less collateral.

The bulk of derisking has apparently taken place in the period 2011-14, but there are regions in which this continued until 2016, according to the FSB. In some regions, the situation may be stabilising. In others, there may be even ‘rerisking’: in dynamic African economies, for example, new correspondent banking relationships are being created within Africa itself.

The jury is still out as to whether derisking will stop or continue. We also hear that, with monetary policy tightening and tighter rules on AML/KYC/CFT, some large emerging market financial institutions may themselves start cutting down on their CBRs.


GTR: What is the root cause of derisking, according to the WTO? What role does the perception of regulatory risk play in these decisions?

Auboin: FSB-related institutions have put in place a relatively comprehensive analytical system for monitoring CBRs, based on a strong co-operation with Swift. They have analysed the initial causes in the documents I mentioned, and are producing further analyses which are reviewed at each meeting of the G20 finance ministers.

As you can imagine, the CBR problem is multi-faceted. At the macroeconomic level, it was caused by the need for some global financial institutions which had over-grown to deleverage and resized their balance sheets. While fewer global banks wished to remain global, even fewer regional ones wished to become global. The ‘entry cost’ of becoming global, in terms of expanding existing distribution networks and setting up complex back-office infrastructures, had become very capital-intensive.

At the micro-economic level, reasons given for terminating CBRs have indeed been associated with regulatory risks, albeit not only. Reasons included the risks associated with the presence of offshore sectors in some of these countries and the inclusion of higher-risk categories of customers in respondent banks’ customer base, a change in the correspondent bank’s risk appetite, and perceived lack of profitability of certain correspondent banking services. Facing pressure on their CBRs, some respondent banks have tried to mitigate the risk of losing access to such relationships by closing local accounts with their higher-risk customers. Besides the heightened perception of a regulatory risk, banks have been having a hard look, in the context of deleveraging, at the cost-to-benefit structure of their cross-border businesses.

In the trade finance area, for example, banks have been more prone to develop their supply chain solutions, which are less intensive in CBRs. Supply chain finance solutions have been in high demand by customers. There may also have been at some point a perception that trade business’ growth, which had outpaced GDP by a factor of two for most of the 2000s, was slowing down and was no longer a source of growth of revenue. Still, in developing countries, trade growth has continued to outpace GDP significantly since 2010, and trade grew twice as fast as in developed countries.


GTR: What’s new in the conversation? Tell us about the recent communications that the WTO and IFC are having with the FSB?

Auboin: We realised that trade finance had become an unintended consequence of CBRs’ reduction. After having encouraged multilateral development banks (MDBs) to step in more forcefully in supporting trade finance in poor countries, MDBs said to us that, while they would step in, the lasting solution was to bring the private sector back into these markets. One of the ways to do this was to have a dialogue with international regulators, in the same way as we had once engaged with the Basel Committee on prudential issues, from 2011-13. In doing so, we also realised that international professional organisations, despite some claims on the contrary, lacked a dialogue with global regulators, namely the Basel Committee and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). So the director-general of the WTO decided to take the lead, along with the CEO of the IFC, in reaching the FSB chair, to work together towards including trade finance within the FSB work programme on correspondent banks.


GTR: How does this fit in to the FSB’s existing work programme on correspondent banking?

Auboin: The FSB 2016 work programme comprise four elements: understanding the problem of reduced CBRs by collecting data and analyses; clarifying regulatory expectations; increasing capacity building of authorities in FSB members countries so as to allow a better implementation of minimum guidelines; and promote technical solutions to facilitate due diligence, ie the promotion of ‘utilities’.

We saw that a group had been created on CBRs and remittances. We thought that there was also a case for having the WTO and IFC collaborating with the FSB on CBRs and trade finance.


GTR: What does this work entail and can you outline the progress thus far?

Auboin: The FSB correspondent banking relations’ group committed to the G20 to consider how its work could be adapted or expanded to better address the trade finance components of correspondent banking. In particular, the March 2018 correspondent banking progress report delivered to the G20 discusses next steps and states:

“The reduction in correspondent banking relationships may affect trade finance transactions that rely on correspondent banking arrangements to be processed and may thereby impact some countries, especially those that depend on trade for their development or the access to basic supplies. The FSB, with inputs from the World Trade Organisation and International Financial Corporation, will therefore explore whether and how some of the solutions already developed can be further elaborated to better capture the trade finance components of correspondent banking.”

In concrete terms, this means that we are looking into the four areas of the FSB work, with a view to identifying concrete steps that can address the trade finance dimension. For example, on the clarification of regulatory expectations, we first realised that the trade finance community had only a limited knowledge of the updates issued by the FATF and Basel Committee on how to implement AML/KYC/CFT guidelines in the context of financial inclusion, how to avoid KYCC (know your customer’s customer) and how to promote utilities. So with the FSB, we brought the revised guidelines to the attention of the WTO ‘expert group on trade finance’ and invited the FSB to communicate directly – a rare event – with the private sector. The discussion was constructive and helpful. It contributed, exactly like in our dialogue with the Basel Committee a few years ago, to raising awareness about issues on both sides. For example, one of the problems with AML/KYC/CFT is over-compliance. The perception of the regulatory risk had become more important than the actual regulatory risk itself. It is important that proper and accurate information, notably on regulatory expectations, be delivered on both sides, to reduce the costs of over-compliance.

Another important thing is to increase awareness of regulatory expectations on the side of developing countries. The FSB has an important capacity building programme, while multilateral development banks, in the context of their trade finance facilitation programmes’ technical assistance, incorporate teaching on compliance. One of our current challenges is to define how priority countries in both institutions could support one another’s technical assistance, in a trade finance context.

Also, we believe that all these actors have a role to play in the promotion of utilities in trade finance transactions. The Wolfsberg common questionnaire on due diligence and the legal identity identifier are tools clearly supported by the trade finance community. There is a lot that the trade finance community can do to promote utilities.


GTR: What is the importance of this dialogue and what are you hoping will be achieved?

Auboin: The dialogue is underway. We invited representatives of the main global banking associations to the expert group meeting, so that they could exchange with the FSB representatives. The WTO and IFC are co-ordinating the MDBs’ inputs in the different FSB work streams. There are conference calls on details, and inter-institutional co-operation is all about details.

In my view, there are going to be visible outcomes, such as potential common WTO-MDBs-FSB missions in the field, or high-profile promotion of utilities. But equally important are the invisible outcomes, whereby the industry acquires knowledge and regulators understand problems taking place in the field. A lot of the extra cost borne from over-compliance is currently linked to asymmetries of information and wrong perceptions.


GTR: What, ultimately, do you think needs to be done to bring the private sector back into challenging markets?

Auboin: A lot of what is being currently done is likely to be helpful – promoting utilities and compliance by counterparty banks. The latter will be important, because at the present moment, even though it was made clear by the Basel Committee that KYCC checks were not required, the reality on the ground is that global banks often feel that they have to collect information for their counterparties. Counterparty banks should see compliance as a way to be attractive again.

There should also be recognition within the industry that besides the ups and downs of trade in value and the slowdown of trade in volume, it is worth investing into trade even in challenging markets, which are also markets of the future. MDBs show every day that operating in these markets is not a money-losing proposition and doing proper due diligence at reasonable cost is possible.

Finally, ‘rerisking’ would be in the banks’ interest. In the past decade, credit insurance and factoring, wherever it has been available, have been gaining market share in trade finance relative to bank-intermediated products. Non-bank competition is likely to grow in growth markets, that is, in the developing world.

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Privacy Policy

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This Privacy Policy outlines the information we may collect about you in relation to your use of our websites, events, related publications and services (“personal data”) and how we may use that personal data. It also outlines the methods by which we and our service providers may (subject to necessary consents) monitor your online behaviour to deliver customised advertisements, marketing materials and other tailored services. This Privacy Policy also tells you how you can verify the accuracy of your personal data and how you can request that we delete or update it.

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Established in 2002 and with offices in London and Singapore, Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd is the world’s leading trade and trade finance media company, offering information, news, events and services for companies and individuals involved in global trade.

Our principal business activities are:

  • Business-to-Business financial publishing. We provide a range of products and services focused on international commodities, export, supply chain and trade finance markets including magazines, newsletters, electronic information and data
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This Data Protection Policy explains when and why we collect personal information about people who visit our website, how we use it, the conditions under which we may disclose it to others and how we keep it secure.

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We collect certain personal data from you, which you give to us when using our Site and/or registering or subscribing for our products and services. However, we also give you the option to access our Sites’ home pages without subscribing or registering or disclosing your personal data.

We also collect certain personal data from other group companies to whom you have given information through their websites (including, by way of example, Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd and subsidiaries, in accordance with the purposes listed below). Should we discover that any such personal data has been delivered to any of the Sites, we will remove that information as soon as possible.

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Data protection law

The Data Protection Act 1998 described how organisations – including Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd – must collect, handle and store personal information. These rules apply regardless of whether data is stored electronically, on paper or on other materials. To comply with the law, personal information collected must be stored safely, not disclosed unlawfully and used fairly.

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We obtain information about you when you use our website, for example, when you contact us about products and services, when you register for an event, register to receive eNewsletters, subscribe or register for a trial to our GTR magazine/website.

 Types of Personal Data Held and its Use

1.      Customer Services and Administration

On some Sites, Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd collects personal data such as your name, job title, department, company, e-mail, phone, work and/or home address, in order to register you for access to certain content, subscriptions and events. In addition, we may also store information including IP address and page analytics, including information regarding what pages are accessed, by whom and when.

This information is used to administer and deliver to you the products and/or services you have requested, to operate our Sites efficiently and improve our service to you, and to retain records of our business transactions and communications. By using the Sites and submitting personal information through the registration process you are agreeing that we may collect, hold, process and use your information (including personal information) for the purpose of providing you with the Site services and developing our business, which shall include (without limitation) the purposes described in the below paragraphs.

2.      Monitoring use of our Sites

Where, as part of our Site services, we enable you to post information or materials on our Site, we may access and monitor any information which you upload or input, including in any password-protected sections. Subject to any necessary consents, we also monitor and/or record the different Sites you visit and actions taken on those Sites, e.g. content viewed or searched for. If you are a registered user (e.g. a subscriber or taking a trial), when you log on, this places a cookie on your machine. This enables your access to content and services that

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Please see paragraph 5 below for more information on cookies and similar technologies and a link to a page where you can turn them on or off.

3.      Marketing

Some of your personal data collected under paragraphs 1 and 2 above may be used by us to contact you by e-mail, telephone and/or post for sending information or promotional material on our products and/or services and/or those of our other group companies.
We give you the opportunity to opt-out of receiving marketing communications. Further detail can be found on the applicable Site and in the footer of each marketing communication sent by us, our group companies or service providers. See also “Consents and opt-outs” section below.
We will not share your information with third parties for marketing purposes.

4.      Profiling

We may analyse your personal information to create a profile of your interests and preferences so that we can contact you with information relevant to you.

5.      Cookies and similar technologies

All our Sites use cookies and similar technical tools to collect information about your access to the Site and the services we provide.

What is a cookie?

When you enter some sites, your computer will be issued with a cookie. Cookies are text files that identify your computer to servers. Cookies in themselves do not identify the individual user, just the computer used.

Many sites do this whenever a user visits their site in order to track traffic flows, recording those areas of the site that have been visited by the computer in question, and for how long.

Users have the opportunity to set their computers to accept all cookies, to notify them when a cookie is issued, or not to receive cookies at any time. Selecting not to receive means that certain personalised services Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd offers cannot then be provided to that user.


Why do we use cookies?

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  • gather information about the pages on the Site that you visit, and other information about other websites that you visit, so as to place you in a “market segment”. This information is only collected by reference to the IP address that you are using, but does include information about the county and city you are in, together with the name of your internet service provider.

Most web browsers automatically accept cookies but, if you prefer, you can change your browser to prevent that, or to notify you each time a cookie is set. You can also learn more about cookies in general by visiting which includes additional useful information on cookies and how to block cookies using different types of browser. Please note however, that by blocking, deleting or turning off cookies used on the Site you may not be able to take full advantage of the Site.

6.      E-mail tracking

E-mail tracking is a method for monitoring the e-mail delivery to those subscribers who have opted-in to receive marketing e-mails from GTR, including GTR Africa, GTR Asia, GTR Americas, GTR Europe, GTR Mena, GTR eNews, Third party e-mails and GTR Ventures.

Why do we track e-mails?

So that we can better understand our users’ needs, we track responses, subscription behaviour and engagement to our e-mails – for example, to see which links are the most popular in newsletters. They enable us to understand the consumers journey through metrics including open rate, click-through rate, bounces and unsubscribes. Any other purposes for which Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd wishes to use your personal data will be notified to you and your personal data will not be used for any such purpose without obtaining your prior consent.

How do you track GTR eNewsletters?

To do this, we use pixel GIFs, also known as “pixel tags” – these are small image files that are placed within the body of our e-mail messages. When that image is downloaded from our web servers, the e-mail is recorded as being opened. By using some form of digitally time-stamped record to reveal the exact time and date that an e-mail was received or opened, as well the IP address of the recipient.

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You can give your consent to opt-out of all or any particular uses of your data as indicated above by:

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To turn cookies and similar technologies on and off, see the information in paragraph 5 above. Any questions regarding consents and opt-outs should be sent by e-mail to or by writing to Data Protection Officer at, Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd, 4 Hillgate Place, London, SW12 9ER, United Kingdom. Alternatively, you can telephone our London headquarters at +44 (0) 20 8673 9666.

8.      Disclosures

Information collected at one Site may be shared between Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd and other group companies for the purposes listed above.

We may transfer, sell or assign any of the information described in this policy to third parties as a result of a sale, merger, consolidation, change of control, transfer of assets or reorganisation of our business.

9.      Public forums, message boards and blogs

Some of our Sites may have a message board, blogs or other facilities for user generated content available and users can participate in these facilities. Any information that is disclosed in these areas becomes public information and you should always be careful when deciding to disclose your personal information.

10.  Data outside the EEA

Services on the Internet are accessible globally so collection and transmission of personal data is not always limited to one country. Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd may transfer your personal data, for the above-listed purposes to other third parties, which may be located outside the European Economic Area and/or with a different level of personal data protection. However, when conducting transfers, we take all necessary steps to ensure that your data is treated reasonably, securely and in accordance with this Privacy Statement.

Who has access to your information?

Confidentiality and Security of Your Personal Data

We are committed to keeping the data you provide us secure and will take reasonable precautions to protect your personal data from loss, misuse or alteration.

However, the transmission of information via the internet is not completely secure. Although we will do our best to protect your personal data, we cannot guarantee the security of your data transmitted to our Site; any transmission is at your own risk. Once we have received your information, we will use strict procedures and security features described above to try to prevent unauthorised access.

We have implemented information security policies, rules and technical measures to protect the personal data that we have under our control from:

  • unauthorised access
  • improper use or disclosure
  • unauthorised modification
  • unlawful destruction or accidental loss

All our employees, contractors and data processors (i.e. those who process your personal data on our behalf, for the purposes listed above), who have access to, and are associated with the processing of your personal data, are obliged to keep the information confidential and not use it for any other purpose than to carry out the services they are performing for us.


Everyone who works for or with Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd has some responsibility for ensuring data is collected, stored and handled appropriately. Each team handling personal data must ensure that it is handled and processed in line with this policy and data protection principles. However, the following people have key areas of responsibility. The board of directors is ultimately responsible for ensuring that Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd meets its legal obligations.

Name of Data Controller

The Data Controller is Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd. Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd is subject to the UK Data Protection Act 1998 and is registered in the UK with the Information Commissioner`s Office.

How to access, update and erase your personal information

If you wish to know whether we are keeping personal data about you, or if you have an enquiry about our privacy policy or your personal data held by us, in relation to any of the Sites, you can contact the Data Protection Officer via:

  • By writing to this address: Data Protection Officer, Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd, 4 Hillgate Place, London, SW12 9ER, UK
  • Telephone: +44 (0) 20 8673 9666
  • E-mail:

Upon request, we will provide you with a readable copy of the personal data which we keep about you. We may require proof of your identity and may charge a small fee (not exceeding the statutory maximum fee that can be charged) to cover administration and postage.

Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd allows you to challenge the data that we hold about you and, where appropriate in accordance with applicable laws, you may have your personal information:

  • erased
  • rectified or amended
  • completed

Disclosing data for other reasons

In certain circumstances, the Data Protection Act allows personal data to be disclosed to law enforcement agencies without the consent of the data subject. Under these circumstances, Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd, will disclose requested data. However, the Data Controller will ensure the request is legitimate, seeking assistance from the board and from the company’s legal advisors where necessary.

Changes to this Privacy Statement

We will occasionally update this Privacy Statement to reflect new legislation or industry practice, group company changes and customer feedback. We encourage you to review this Privacy Statement periodically to be informed of how we are protecting your personal data.

Providing information

Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd aims to ensure that individuals are aware that their data is being processed, and that they understand.

  • How the data is being used
  • How to exercise their rights

To this end, the company has a privacy statement, setting out how data relating to individuals is used by the company. This is available on request and available on the company’s website.

Review of this policy

We keep this Policy under regular review. This Privacy Statement was last updated in April 2018.