Understanding SME Trade Finance in ASEAN: An Overview
SMEs are the most important source of employment in all ASEAN countries, but a lack of access to external sources of finance may limit their expansion and growth. In particular, the existence of a trade finance gap can curtail their participation in international trade. Countries in ASEAN and East Asia need to address this issue to include SMEs in their export-oriented growth strategy. This paper provides a framework for understanding the trade finance gap by examining the nature and strength of relationships between different actors in the trade finance ecosystem. We present an overview of the literature that studied the relationship between financial development and trade, the availability and use of various trade finance instruments in international trade, and some stylised facts about trade finance in ASEAN.