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The ACAP facility provides Standard Bank’s African clients who import goods and services from China to exclusive access to an accredited trade agent in China. This trade agent assists African importers with access, assessments, and communication with suppliers and vendors, and manages the process of importing quality goods and services efficiently and safely from China. Since the process is supported by an Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) letter of credit, African importers have sufficient time to land and sell goods before effecting payment. At the same time Chinese suppliers can remain confident of payment underwritten by an ICBC letter of credit in China.
The ACAP capability is yet another service in what Standard Bank calls its Africa-China Trade and Investment Corridor. Standard Bank’s Africa-China Trade and Investment Corridor is a broad ecosystem of services, solutions and support, equipping Africa and China to leverage the vast trade, development and growth opportunity that each have in each other.
Standard Bank’s ACAP offering aims to assist African importers source and validate quality goods, safely and efficiently, from the most competitive suppliers in China. The ACAP offering is expected to revolutionise African importers’ view of China’s supplier universe. It will also ease the cash flow of African importers by providing access to financing while empowering importers with sight and control of the entire importing and logistics process.
Currently African importers have a limited view of China’s supplier universe. African importers generally have to travel to China where they meet one or two suppliers, build up a relationship and then start importing. African importers are also generally required to pay in cash, upfront and in hard currency. Operating through an accredited trade agent in China means that African importers now have sight of and access to thousands of suppliers in China, enabling them to choose and negotiate better quality goods on better terms.
Since the process is underwritten by a letter of credit, African importers will also no longer need to pay in hard currency upfront. Instead, they can keep their cash in the business until goods are landed and sold, aiding immensely with cash flow. The Chinese trade agent also helps manage and communicate (in Chinese) with suppliers, customs officials and shippers in China and along the import chain. This removes language barriers while lending visibility and predictability to the import process.
Working in tandem with Standard Bank’s 20% shareholder, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the biggest bank in the world, the ACAP service provides for letter of credit-based payment, supported by an ICBC letter of credit raised and drawn down in China. This means that Chinese suppliers can be 100% confident of timely and full pay- ment without either; running the risk of dispatching goods without payment - or having to insist on cash payment upfront in hard currency. Since Standard Bank, in Africa, has developed relationships with most of its client importers, Chinese suppliers can be confident that they are dealing with a reliable and accredited importer - holding a legitimate account at Standard Bank, ICBC’s African trade and banking partner.
The ACAP offering has already been launched and is fully operational in Nigeria and Ghana. Today it launches in South Africa. In time Standard Bank will extend the offering to its other African markets.
Currently Standard Bank’s ACTP Offering Includes One Chinese Trade Agent. Zhejiang International Trading Supply Chain Co. Ltd (Guomao) is the first Chinese Trade Agent nominated by ICBC to partner with Standard Bank to assist African importers trade seamlessly with China. Guomao has almost 10 000 suppliers that meet the import needs of Standard Bank’s African clients. Where the need of a client falls outside of Guomao’s suppli- er base, Guomao will source the relevant suppliers following a supplier validation and verification process. In time, Standard Bank expects to include more Chinese trade agents in its ACAP offering.
Guomao will assist African importers:
Guomao can also help African importers talk to or meet with Chinese suppliers, offering introduction and translations services aimed at building mutual trust and deep, long-lasting relationships over time. At the same time Guomao can help Chinese suppliers understand and manage many of the challenges that African importers face, either; interacting in China or in importing goods into various African markets.
There is no cost, this is a service provided by Standard Bank for its clients
African importers (who are Standard Bank clients) can access China’s broad universe of suppliers, as well as the entire Standard Bank and ICBC-supported import process for free.
Besides the usual fees associated with conducting an international trade via a letter of credit, the entire ACAP offering is available without cost, simply by joining Standard Bank’s digital trading platform, called Trade Club.
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