The Commonwealth’s poorest, smallest and most vulnerable countries, particularly the association’s 32 small states and 15 least-developed countries, are most significantly impacted by challenges in access to adequate and cost-effective sources of trade finance. They are among the most open economies in the world and thus suffer disproportionately from global financial and trade volatility and during periods of global crisis. Their domesticmarkets and institutions do not provide a sufficient range of instruments and mechanisms to secure trade finance on the scale needed to support steady state trade flows and to expand trade. Finding ways to expand access to sufficient, affordable sources of trade finance is a priority development challenge for these countries.
The paper recommends the Commonwealth promote collective Commonwealth initiatives to strengthen intra-Commonwealth trade and support the closing of trade finance gaps in the poorest and smallest countries. A short, focused programme of analytical and research work can be pursued, reporting to Commonwealth Finance Ministers in 2014.