At a meeting of the WTO's Working Group on Trade, Debt and Finance, DG Azevêdo cited the findings of the report launched by the WTO earlier this month, entitled "Trade Finance and SMEs: Bridging the gaps in provision", which takes a detailed look at this issue. The report, and its various recommendations for action, can be accessed here.

The Director-General said:

    “Access to trade finance continues to be an issue for many traders across the globe — in developing and developed countries alike, with smaller businesses facing the greatest hurdles. Globally over half of trade finance requests by SMEs are rejected. For multinationals it's just 7%. This is a very striking contrast, and it is of particular concern as SMEs are a leading driver of trade and employment.

    “This is clearly a major issue for the business community, so I am pleased that trade finance remains high on the agenda at the WTO. It is time to move from reflection to action on this front.”

The Director-General's speech is available here.

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