Tashkent International Investment Forum

To be the moderator of the Trade Finance session at the Tashkent Investment Forum means that I was at the right place. Being included in the President’s press service video means I was there at the right time (47th sec of the video):


During the plenary session, the President of Uzbekistan announced that joining the World Trade Organisation is a priority for Uzbekistan. It was an honour and a great pleasure to moderate the “Trade Finance: a look into the Future” session at the Tashkent International Investment Forum.

Export trade finance is critical in facilitating international trade, accounting for approximately 80-90% of all global trade. However, despite its importance, around $1.7 trillion in trade transactions still need to be funded, with small and medium-sized businesses accounting for over 40% of these cases. One of the main reasons behind this is the complexity of the trade financing process, including the numerous requirements and procedures of banks and export credit agencies, which limit business entities’ access to external financing sources.

To address this challenge, speakers of my session agreed that governments and international organisations must work with the private sector to simplify and standardise trade finance procedures, reduce regulatory barriers, and promote technology in trade finance. This can help facilitate access to finance for businesses, particularly in emerging markets, which are often most affected by trade financing challenges.

In Central Asia, often financial infrastructure and limited institutional capacity are significant barriers to developing trade finance. To overcome these challenges, governments and international organisations can invest in financial infrastructure and provide technical assistance to financial institutions. Regional cooperation and integration can also promote trade and support the development of trade finance in the region.

Another topic we discussed during the session was Digitalization. Digital solutions can transform the trade finance landscape, providing secure and efficient processing of trade finance transactions, reducing costs, and improving transparency. Blockchain technology can enable secure and efficient processing of trade finance transactions, while artificial intelligence and machine learning can help automate credit scoring and risk assessment processes.

In addition to addressing the above issues, all speakers agreed that raising awareness of trade finance among small and medium-sized businesses is crucial. Governments, international organisations, banks and financial institutions can provide education and training to help businesses understand the various trade finance options available and how to access them.

Corporate branding is also a crucial aspect that can impact businesses’ access to export trade finance. A strong brand image can help build trust and credibility with potential trade partners and financial institutions, making it easier for businesses to access financing and expand their export operations. Corporate branding can also differentiate a business from its competitors, making it easier to stand out in crowded markets and attract new customers. This can be particularly important when expanding into new international markets, where businesses may face stiff competition and unfamiliar regulatory environments.

In addition, a strong brand can help mitigate risks associated with exporting, such as political instability, currency fluctuations, and payment defaults. Financial institutions may view businesses with a strong brand image as more reliable and trustworthy, thus more likely to repay their debts on time. Businesses should strive to build and maintain a strong brand image to improve their chances of success in international trade and increase their access to financing options.

I was particularly pleased that Uzbek Agency for export promotion gave a good example to other countries in Central Asia by launching an international promo campaign with the brand MADE IN UZBEKISTAN on BBC World News. This promo video was filmed and produced by Dars Films.

Sun as a compliment