As part of an initiative to promote exports of local products, Economic Development Bank President Joey Cancel-Planas announced Wednesday the signing of a partnership with Scotiabank Puerto Rico to spur international transactions.
“The EDB has the mission of providing financial products to small and mid-sized entrepreneurs. However, our role should not rest solely on funding. In that sense, we want to go further, by providing our customers with the tools necessary to promote the growth of their businesses through the export of their products,” Cancel-Planas said during a news conference at the agency’s Guaynabo headquarters.
“To this end, we have established a business partnership with private banks to provide international banking services,” said Cancel.
As part of the agreement, Scotiabank will provide several services to the EDB’s commercial customers, among them, documentary letters of credit for export and import, as well as “stand-by” letters of guarantee for imports and exports, among others. Scotiabank will also offer trainings to EDB officers and assist in the evaluation of specific transactions, if required. For the most part, the focus will be on transactions taking place mainly in the Central and Latin American regions.
“For Scotiabank de Puerto Rico it’s an honor to be a key player in Puerto Rico’s development and growth. Our initial presence 103 years ago helped develop what was then a driver of our economy, the sugarcane industry. Over time, as our industries have grown and evolved, we have been helping businesses in this transformation, from that agrarian society, to the industrial and commercial base we have today,” said Rafael Flores, second vice president of Scotiabank’s commercial banking division.
“In recent years we have seen how our local industries have expanded their natural footprint to markets that require this homegrown capital and knowledge,” he said. “Whether experience, language and/or proximity, local companies are selling it and expanding into Central and South America.”
The EDB’s goal is to help local businesses avoid the pitfalls usually associated with exporting goods, Cancel said.
“The main risk for product exporters of is the lack of payment for the goods shipped. With this new service that the EDB will offer, through Scotiabank, businesses will be able to reduce this risk by ensuring payments from foreign buyers, which in turn will make their sales easier,” said Cancel.
The initiative to join the public and private-sector banks originated through a meeting between Cancel and Secretary of State David Bernier, during which the latter stressed the importance of spurring international commerce among local entrepreneurs, the executives said.
“This is an important and necessary step that the EDB is taking. It makes available an additional tool to help our businesses enter into new markets,” Bernier said.