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Andreas Klasen, Professor, Offenburg University


Small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) play an increasingly important role in trade. SMEs introduce product, process or service innovation more often. However, they operate in a global environment characterized by numerous challenges such as heterogeneous political and legal systems, economic conditions and cultural behaviour. One of the most important concerns is that many SMEs are failing to get the financing they need from commercial banks.

This Working Session will identify and analyse the trade finance challenges for SMEs, discuss policies and existing trade finance instruments, and elaborate innovative approaches. Leading experts from the business community, governments and international organizations will discuss the main issues for small and medium-sized companies in trade finance. The session will analyse the role of international financial institutions, and what relevant policy approaches from national governments in the framework of the WTO are. It is also the aim to explore successful innovations for SMEs.


  • Marc Auboin, Economic Counsellor, WTO
  • Peter Luketa, Senior Advisor, HSBC
  • Bert Bruning, Managing Director Atradius Dutch State Business
  • Hani Salem Sunbol, CEO, ITFC
  • Topi Vesteri , President, Berne Union