Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI) and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) have partnered to help local businesses with their trade finance needs and support their international expansion.

Under a memorandum of understanding, the two have committed to jointly develop products and solutions for UAE-based exporters looking to mitigate commercial and political risks associated with their international trade activities, while also supporting their financing needs.

Areas of collaboration will include conventional and Islamic trade credit insurance, credit risk and supply risk solutions, export and SME financing, factoring and letter of credit confirmations.

ECI, the UAE’s export credit agency, started operations in February 2018, having been established by the UAE governments to support the export of non-oil goods and services.

FAB, meanwhile, is the largest bank in the UAE following the merger between National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) and First Gulf Bank (FGB) in 2016.

According to Andre Sayegh, FAB’s group deputy CEO and group head of corporate and investment banking, the agreement enables the bank to “provide businesses with easier access to capital when they look to trade”.

“In particular, this initiative enables increased trade financing to the local SME export sector, which is an increasingly significant customer segment within the UAE economy,” adds Manoj Menon, FAB’s head of global transaction banking. “This partnership significantly enhances the financing capacity to local exporting and re-exporting companies, providing innovative solutions and alternative channels by which financing can be readily accessed.”

Massimo Falcioni, CEO of ECI, calls the new partnership “major milestone” for the export credit agency.

“Over the years, the UAE’s banking sector with its high liquidity has been growing stronger and showing an increased potential to support the country’s economic growth,” he says. “We are certain that this collaboration, through the use of innovative tools and solutions, will help track and forecast the cash flow needs of UAE-based exporters and local businesses that are looking to expand regionally and internationally.”

ECI aims to support UAE-based companies with over US$1.1bn in exposure and revolving credit limits in 2019. The goal is to support US$3bn worth of non-oil exports and re-exports as part of the country’s UAE Vision 2021 agenda.

As part of its strategy, the agency says it is currently building a “comprehensive platform of strategic partnerships” across government, insurers, re-insurers, brokers, banks and lenders, regional and international ECAs, governments and trade promotion agencies.

In October, ECI partnered the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC) to collaborate of Islamic risk mitigation tools. This was followed by similar partnerships with Markel International in November and Rakbank earlier this month.