Route planner for your global trade

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1 Route planner for your global trade International business Corporate Banking

2 Building bridges, opening doors Internationalisation can provide important stimuli for company growth. However, expanding your horizons beyond national borders can often lead to unfamiliar terrain, with its own special legal requirements and its own traditions. For this reason, if you want to take advantage of the opportunities offered by foreign business while reducing your exposure to the related risks, you need a partner who is familiar with foreign markets, who can open doors and offer professional support for the financial development of your foreign business operations. To achieve that, Commerzbank offers experienced specialists to support you in all areas of international business. We are the market leader in the management of German foreign trade. In 2013, no other bank settled more letters of credit opened in favour of German exporters. Based on decades of experience and recognised expertise, Commerzbank has developed highly efficient solutions for your cross-border business. You can access our services both through personal consultations and with convenient and time-saving tools at (Corporate Banking Portal). The innovative online services we offer include cross-border payment transactions, foreign exchange trading and processing of letters of credit, collections and guarantees. Commerzbank is represented in the business and finance centres in more than 50 countries via our network of branches, subsidiaries and representative offices. In addition, Commerzbank can support your cross-border business through our International Desk, which is the coordinating interface between our branches at home in Germany and those in Asia, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and North America.

3 Contents I 03 Contents International payments: Fast, efficient, transparent 04 Documentary business: Our precision ensures your security 05 Foreign exchange business: Understanding foreign currencies 07 Structured Export & Trade Finance: Supporting your foreign trade business 09

4 04 I International payments International payments: Fast, efficient, transparent Success in international business requires efficient, reliable and transparent processing of payment transactions that goes beyond bank and national borders. Commerzbank has precisely aligned its portfolio of services to meet those requirements. Electronic solutions have widely replaced the use of paper-based payment orders. Whether you process your payment transactions with electronic banking software, via SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) or using our Corporate Banking Portal, Commerzbank offers the right solutions. At the same time, you benefit from Commerzbank s international presence and network of about 5,000 correspondent bank connections worldwide for example, if you wish to open decentralised local accounts for your branches and subsidiaries abroad while still retaining centralised control to optimise interest rates. Commerzbank s cross-border, interbank cash pooling solutions provide the ideal solution in this area. You can find more detailed information in our Liquidity management with clockwork precision. Cash management and payments brochure, which can be obtained from your Commerzbank contact.

5 Documentary business I 05 Documentary business: Our precision ensures your security In addition to political borders, there can also be thousands of kilometres between you and your supplier. We provide you with the payment and security instruments you need: letters of credit, collections and guarantees. Your Commerzbank documentary business specialist will be happy to advise you, in a face-to-face meeting, about which security instrument will be most effective in your specific case. Are you confident enough of your client s motivation and solvency to use a documentary collection? Or do you need the security you get from a letter of credit with a definite payment undertaking from the issuing bank if necessary, supplemented with a confirmation from Commerzbank? Even once you have made your choice, it is almost always the case that further questions and uncertainties will arise during the subsequent processing of the transaction. The experience that our specialists can offer you is invaluable in these instances, as even minor errors or lapses in concentration for example, in the letter of credit documents can result in a letter of credit losing its guaranteed payment function. Unlike collections or letters of credit, a guarantee is generally not a payment but a security instrument. If you need to provide security for your customers or suppliers, we will be happy to help you by issuing a guarantee and vouching for you on the basis of our internationally respected name. Commerzbank offers you a full range of different guarantees from bid bonds to advance payment guarantees and delivery or performance bonds, through to contract fulfilment, warranty and payment guarantees. Electronic support via Web Trade Services Whether letters of credit, collections or guarantees, Commerzbank s Corporate Banking Portal will help you get the complexity of your foreign and guarantee business reliably under control. The internet-based application Web Trade Services offers numerous options for processing your foreign documentary business; for example, allowing you to easily and quickly order, amend and manage your guarantees, import letters of credit and collections. You can also manage export letters of credit online. You can find more information in our Providing the right impetus. Web-based and software-based banking brochure, which can be obtained from your Commerzbank contact.

6 Mittelstandsbank März September Dezember December 2013 März March I Documentary business Handling syndicated guarantees online Commerzbank Online Guarantee System is one of the market s leading online platforms. It allows the client and the banks participating in the syndicate to efficiently manage guarantee facilities, which are used to issue a large number of guarantees. As an agency tool, the Commerzbank Online Guarantee System is able to provide all parties involved with a completely up-to-date overview of the drawings under the facilities, individual limits and the commission calculation. Once your syndicated guarantee facility has been set up, you can access a variety of convenient tools to capture, modify and monitor your transactions. A full service for your documents Documentary foreign business is highly complex: it places significant technical demands on the people who oversee it and ties up resources within your company. If you do not wish to concern yourself with all the many subtleties involved, Commerzbank is pleased to offer you the full-service solution Commerzbank Document Service to support you in successfully completing your foreign business transactions. You are free to instruct our specialists to conduct all or part of your documentary business on your behalf, as you prefer. the expert information service In our quarterly complimentary newsletter Commerzbank regularly provides you with new information and recommendations regarding the settlement of your documentary foreign business. Here you will find incisive articles on relevant and interesting topics, current case studies and important issues surrounding letters of credit, documentary collections and guarantees. We have been providing this information service since 2001 and the archive of material we have generated in that time can provide you with a valuable reference source. newsletter Discrepancies in Credit Documents: Which decisions are at the discretion of the issuing bank? (Part 2) newsletter Availability and payability of a credit meaning and consequences newsletter International Standard Banking Practice Background Information and Details already dealt with this issue in its previous edition. The current newsletter will readdress the question as to the leeway that the issuing bank has whenever discrepant documents are presented. The starting point this time: The applicant for the credit is willing to waive the discrepancies but the issuing bank is, nevertheless, not prepared to take up the discrepant documents. Another case study should help to clarify whether the issuing bank is in fact obligated to take up the documents. The exporter, Well Done Ltd., presents a set of documents to Free and Easy Bank for drawing under a documentary credit. Free and Easy Bank takes up the documents in its capacity as nominated bank and forwards them to the issuing bank, namely the CarefulBank. At the same time, it requests the reimbursement bank indicated in the credit to remit the Free and Easy Bank wastes no time in informing Well Done countervalue of the documents. Ltd. of the rejection of the documents by CarefulBank. Well Done Ltd. takes it easy since it holds a statement signed in Some days later, Free and Easy Bank, which already a legally binding manner by the applicant according to which received the reimbursement and credited the account of the latter has waived the discrepancy and is prepared to Well Done Ltd. accordingly, receives a SWIFT message accept the discrepant documents. from CarefulBank. The issuing bank informs the latter in accordance with the provisions of the Uniform Customs Thereupon, Free and Easy Bank states in its reply to Careful and Practice for Documentary Credits UCP 600, art. 16 c, Bank s SWIFT message that the applicant will, according that it has discovered a discrepancy when examining the to the information in its possession, accept the documents. documents. For this reason, it has refused to take up the CarefulBank is, therefore, kindly requested to confirm that the documents and contacted the applicant in respect of a waiver documents may be deemed taken up. of the discrepancy. Meanwhile, it will hold the documents at the disposal of Free and Easy Bank. By the way, the discrepancy identified by CarefulBank is in fact an error in the documentation (a so-called valid discrepancy ) which was overlooked by Free and Easy Bank. The November edition of dealt with the relationship between a credit s place of availability and its place of expiry. s current edition will again focus on the availability of a credit. This time, we take a closer look at the correlation and differences between availability and payability. As already explained in s November edition, the availability determines the place where the beneficiary must present the credit documents in order to utilize the credit. This is of high importance, particularly with regard to given timeframes and expiry of fixed time periods (life of the documentary credit, presentation periods for documents) and the assignment of the mailing risk. What does the term payability actually mean? The term payability is not defined in the Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits UCP 600. In documentary practice payability is understood as the arrangements between the issuing and the nominated bank with respect to the handling of reimbursement. These arrangements form part of the credit and provide an indication for the beneficiary on how fast he will normally receive the proceeds after presentation of credit compliant documents. When the credit is payable with the nominated bank, such an arrangement will mean that the nominated bank is authorised to either debit the issuing bank s account maintained with it directly or to reimburse itself on the issuing bank or a reimbursement bank. When the credit is payable with the issuing bank, such an arrangement will mean that the issuing bank will remit the proceeds of the credit to the nominated bank as soon as it receives the compliant documents. As a result, the beneficiary will, in this case, receive the countervalue of the documents only upon the end of the period provided for the mailing, the examination of the documents and the time required for payment. Making the credit payable with any bank other than the issuing or the nominated bank does not appear to occur in practice. Do you have any questions or suggestions regarding Your comments, opinions or queries are of utmost interest. Feel free to contact us any time. Please click here to access our contact form where you can address any issues you may have. In addition to this edition you will find all newsletters of this information service in the archive in pdf format for downloading. Our specialists for Cash Management and International Business will be pleased to answer any questions you may have on this issue or other documentary business topics. For more information on our foreign business services and products please visit our website In July 2013, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) released a new edition of its publication International Standard Banking Practice for the Examination of Documents under UCP 600 (ISBP). What exactly is the background and the purpose of the ISBP? What changes does the new edition contain? s current issue will seek to give an answer to these questions, starting with the paragraphs A19 part g documents acceptable as presented and K10 part c coverage effected from warehouse to warehouse. Moreover, we will look more closely at further paragraphs of the ISBP in some forthcoming issues of this newsletter. Documentary business can look back upon a long history. Already in medieval times, letters of credit, which ultimately led to the documentary credit that we know today, were issued in Italy, which at that time was the centre of trade and commerce in Europe. At the outset of the nineteenth century, docu men tary credit came to prominence as a prime instrument of payment in international trade and was increasingly utilized in the processing of trade transactions. With its Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits (UCP), the ICC Paris has set up rules designed to ensure a uniform approach to the processing of documentary credits and examination of documents worldwide. Moreover, over the course of time certain standards, customs and best practices for credit transactions have been developed. Here again, the ICC supports the parties to a credit by setting out these customs and standards in the aforementioned ISBP. These must always be read in connection with the UCP and are meant to assist when deciding upon the compliance of documents. In this context, the following important aspects have to be kept in mind: Usually, documentary credits are expressly made subject to the UCP (in their currently applicable version). Therefore, they are binding for all parties. The ISBP, however, are not a binding regulatory framework; they are a useful support to interpret the UCP in a correct manner and to apply them in accordance with the intentions of the ICC. Any refusal of documents must exclusively be based on the UCP: refusal cannot be justified on the grounds that the ISBP have been violated or have not been observed. The ISBP only serve as an instrument to support an argumentation. Corporate Banking Mittelstandsbank Corporate Banking Corporate Mittelstandsbank Banking Available free of charge every three months: simply register for your free copy of in the order and download center at

7 Foreign exchange business I 07 Foreign exchange business: Understanding foreign currencies Transactions with your foreign business partners are processed smoothly, with payments in the corresponding foreign currency arriving on time and according to contract. However, if exchange rates subsequently change for the worse, this can turn all your calculations upside down. Commerzbank s foreign currency management supports you in avoiding exactly this sort of unwanted development. The right rate Commerzbank occupies a leading position in the field of currency trading in Germany. As an internationally recognised marketmaker, we provide exchange rates in line with the market and offer sound market information. As well as pure processing of currency exchange, appropriate hedging is also given particular attention in this regard. With currency forwards, for example, the currency exchange does not take place until a future date, although the exchange rate is actually fixed when the agreement is signed. Therefore, you precisely know what you will receive, regardless of any exchange rate fluctuations that occur in the meantime. Should receipt of the currency be delayed, hedging can be prolonged with a currency swap. Modern hedging products give you additional opportunities to benefit from exchange rate developments without losing sight of the hedging aspect. Using a modular approach, the specialists at Commerzbank can offer you customised solutions in line with your market opinion or the competitive situation as part of active currency management. New standards for foreign exchange business The increasing internationalisation of business relations in the SME sector makes efficiency, speed and reliability important success factors when processing foreign exchange transactions. This is where the internet provides new opportunities compared to formerly processing everything over the telephone. However, limiting yourself solely to online spot and forward transactions is not sufficient. Commerzbank s online trading platform within our Corporate Banking Portal offers a truly comprehensive solution. With this system, you can feel as if you are almost sitting in Commerzbank s Frankfurt trading room, which is one of the largest in Europe. All the different threads of our global presence and strong position on the international currency markets come together here with information fed directly to the screen of your PC via our Corporate Banking Portal.

8 08 I Foreign exchange business In collaboration with the personal support of Commerzbank s specialists, as well as with tailormade hedging concepts, the trading platform offers a comprehensive range of services in the field of foreign exchange trading. This system offers the highest possible efficiency in the preparation, execution and evaluation of commercial transactions quickly and directly with just one click. For more information, please refer to our brochure Providing the right impetus. Web-based and software-based banking, which can be obtained from your designated Commerzbank contact.

9 Structured Export & Trade Finance I 09 Structured Export & Trade Finance: Supporting your foreign trade business Contract negotiations with foreign business partners aren t just about prices, delivery times and product features. Foreign business partners often expect the exporter or importer to provide financing too. Commerzbank offers professional solutions to help with this even for smallerscale underlying transactions which safeguard a prompt flow of liquidity. It is also worth remembering that finance geared optimally towards your commercial activities (import and export) gives your company a real competitive edge in the international business. Commerzbank can offer you highly specialised advice regarding the whole value chain and support you with a reliable, complete financing package for orders, imports and trading business. Risk hedging and liquidity optimisation give you additional financial scope. Buyer s credit Credit for your customers Buyer s credit is the most common mediumto long-term form of export financing in the capital goods and investment business. At Commerzbank, you can obtain a buyer credit for export transactions as low as 250,000 euro. The financing is based on a Hermes finance credit guarantee, granted directly to your foreign customer or its principal bank through existing framework agreements. The basis for the delivery transaction is the export contract which, among other things, stipulates payment through a buyer credit. The loan is paid to you as exporter and repaid by the importer. For exporters, an important advantage of buyer credit is that it does not impact the balance sheet, as payment occurs immediately upon delivery or performance. Commerzbank supports you through a comprehensive range of advisory services for example, helping with drafting the payment conditions, formulating the application for credit approval or calculating the Hermes fee. Refinancing your supplier credits 1. Purchase of covered receivables: For existing business relationships, nonrecourse purchase of receivables through Commerzbank provides a refinancing option for your export receivables with short, medium or long payment terms (supplier credit). The prerequisite is that you obtain cover via a credit guarantee from the Federal Government of Germany provided by Euler Hermes as mandated agent (Hermes cover) or private credit insurance from Euler Hermes Kreditversicherung-AG. In this way, you assign all claims arising from your export business and any rights and claims arising from your Hermes cover or your Hermes credit insurance to the bank. In return, you will receive the net present value of the purchase price, as soon as you have presented proper documentation. In this way, a business with deferred payment can be turned into a cash business. Overall, the purchase of secured receivables represents a lean and rapid funding alternative, in which your customer abroad does not need to be directly involved. You as an exporter, however, remain responsible for the legal validity of the claim and the proper conduct of the delivery transaction.

10 10 I Structured Export & Trade Finance If you already have Hermes cover in the form of a state-backed Whole-Turnover Policy, WTO (in German Ausfuhrpauschal-Gewährleistungsgarantie des Bundes, APG) or in the form of an extended Euler Hermes commercial credit insurance for your short-term and revolving deliveries in place, then we can provide you with tailor-made framework agreements to enable the streamlined processing of a non-recourse receivable purchase on a revolving basis. This guarantees a prompt flow of liquidity, even when you export products such as non-durable consumer goods and merchandise. 2. Forfaiting and CAF Commerzbank s purchase of letters of credit: Forfaiting refers to the non-recourse purchase of abstract (independent of the under lying transaction) non-contestable, assignable, existing, but not yet due export receivables against the immediate payment of the purchase price. The claim must usually be secured by a bank in the country of the importer, or by another international bank, both of which have to be acceptable to Commerzbank AG. Claim instruments can include both book receivables and bills of exchange or promissory notes, as well as LCs. Hedging instruments can include deferred payment letters of credit, avalised bills of exchange or promissory notes, or letters of guarantee and payment guarantees. CAF Commerzbank s purchase of LC receivables is the standardised form of forfaiting. This involves the purchase without recourse of existing export receivables for goods sold and/or services rendered under letters of credit with deferred payment periods not exceeding 365 days. As buyer of the claim, Commerzbank takes the following risks: The economic risk of insolvency of the debtor or his guarantor The country risk, consisting of the political risk as well as conversion and transfer risk The currency risk (if the invoice is raised in a foreign currency) The collection risk (loss of the claim documentation in the mail, enforceability of the claim, and the risk of paying agents) For you as an exporter, forfaiting offers the following advantages: Reduced pressure on your balance sheet Improved liquidity Passing on the risks involved in the target currency Preservation of your credit lines Fixed interest rates, which allow fixed calculations Elimination of credit monitoring and collection work, opening up space for new projects Both forms of refinancing your supplier credits reduce the pressure on your balance sheet and simultaneously create additional scope for financing new transactions. As an exporter, you are responsible for the legal validity of the claim and for completing the underlying transaction in full as per the contract. In addition to this, Commerzbank offers you other standardised financing products for your export transactions, such as global export credit, advance export financing and a range of factoring solutions.

11 Structured Export & Trade Finance I 11 Just remember to talk to us while you are conducting initial negotiations and drafting the contract for your delivery transaction if you are considering subsequent refinancing. Structured trade and warehouse financing as a finance solution for your whole value chain In the context of structured trade and warehouse financing, Commerzbank supports your trading business with short- and medium-term financing, in which your commodity and goods stocks, as well as claims for payment resulting from their marketing, can be included. If required, lending can start at different points in your commercial business and can cover the entire value chain starting at the point of purchase from manufacturers and producers, who are often located in foreign countries, through to the sales you make to your customers. In the course of this, different risk-minimising instruments are applied to control risk, depending on the specific stage of financing. Commerzbank offers various forms of financing, depending on your precise needs. These include trade financing, which generally involves documentary credits or collections, possibly supplemented by the financing of price hedging. These forms of financing help you in the purchase of raw materials and goods that you then sell, or in warehouse financing for stocks of raw materials and goods that you buy regularly or seasonally and then temporarily store. Commerzbank is here to help you with your foreign business as a reliable partner, offering personalised advice, a globally standardised customer relationship management model and a comprehensive array of services. Our specialists will work with you to develop tailored solutions for your international business.

12 Correct as at: 04/2014, VKS05051 For more detailed information concerning international business, our relationship managers for corporate clients as well as our specialists are at your disposal. They can also provide you with brochures for the following topic: Cash management and payments Commerzbank AG Corporate Banking

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