Case: International Trade and Trade Finance

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FITTskills: International Trade Finance

Case Study #1: New Modes of Trade Finance

Case Study #1: New Modes of Trade Finance

Trade finance in the twenty-first century: plug and pay? Palate-Able Delights (PAD) is a niche retailer of high-end food products imported from various parts of the world. Iranian saffron and caviar, French champagnes, Italian truffles and olive oils, vintage balsamic vinegars, fine cheeses, reserve wines from the leading vintners, even limited-availability spring waters…if a culinary delight exists, Palate-Able Delights has a mission to discover it, then share it with appreciative clients who quite happily pay premium for the pleasure. PAD has been very successful as an importer, but has packaged such unique and intriguing combinations of items into ‘theme services’, that there is now significant demand for the PAD products to be exported to several regions of the world. The product line – adapted for local preferences and delicacies – has potential in many parts of the world, and PAD believes it will eventually shift from a purveyor of fine foods to own and manage a global gastronomic brand worthy of, as the CEO puts it, ‘The most discerning palates on the planet’. PAD is planning its shift to a (re-) exporting mode, assessing target markets and considering options related to the financials of the business. While the finance team at PAD have a general awareness of letters of credit and collections products and processes, these are generally not very popular instruments – expensive, complex, prone to error, and not generally suited to food and highly perishable products. The company CFO is intrigued by online settlement options – her husband is constantly on eBay bidding on various items and paying for them through online settlement mechanisms – and she perceives an opportunity to leverage these services for PAD. Virtual payments – real money? PAD recognizes that its business is niche and specialty-based: this is not a mass-market...
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