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Global Forum in Tianjin (China) - International Factors Group

The Second Global Forum of International Factoring & Workshop Seminar on the Foundations of International Factoring, co-organized by Tianjin Municipal People’s Government and International Factors Group and with Tianjin Factors and Discounters Association and Orbrich (China) International Factors as executive organizers, was successfully held in Tianjin in April 17-18. The two days event attracted over two hundred participants from senior officials of Central and Tianjin Government, factoring professionals from domestic and foreign financial institutions, scholars from academic institutions and executives from local enterprises. Various national and local media including Xinhua News Agency gave extensive coverage on the event.

The first day which was designed to be a forum on factoring started with a welcoming reception by Tianjin Government officials led by the Vice-Mayor, Mr. Cui Jindu for all the guests of honor and invited speakers for the forum. Mr. Erik Timmermans, our Secretary General, who would be chairing the morning session of the forum then took the stage and gave a warm welcoming speech to all the participants, some of whom have travelled a long distance not only from other cities in China but all the way from Europe and US. The main theme of the forum was realizing the opportunities to developing factoring in China under current financial reform of China. Since the joining of WTO, financial reform has been one of the top agendas for China. After the annual Party Congress Meeting in Beijing this March, China Central Government has put Tianjin Binhai’s New Area to be the forefront of financial reform and innovation in China. Audiences had the good fortune to hear more about this directly from Vice-Mayor, Mr. Cui, who is one of the officials leading Tianjin’s financial reform and innovation. In particular, Mr. Cui remarked that supporting factoring development, through implementation of policy favorable to factoring that will be adopted by other parts of China upon success、 strengthening the cooperation with overseas factoring associations and support for the first government approved factoring association in China, Tianjin Factors and Discounters Association, has become one of the 20’s strategic tasks for Tianjin’s financial reform. Two senior government officials from Beijing, Mr. Han Yongwen, Secretary General of the National Development and Reform Commission; the commission which study and formulate policies for China's economy and Mr. Fang Shangpu, Deputy Administrator of State Administration, also gave the affirmation that factoring will play an important role in the future development of China’s economy and that they are studying how their administrations can implement policies that will give a more favorable environment for factoring in China.

With leaders of three of the most successful factoring associations in the world, Miss Kate Sharp representing ABFA, Mr. Andrej Suskacevic representing CFA and our chairman Mr. John Gielen and secretary general Mr. Erik Timmermans as invited speakers for the forum, the participants also had the great opportunity to hear how these associations had supported and helped the development of factoring by providing excellent and extensive education and training and in the case of ABFA and CFA how they had also promoted factoring in its respective countries through lobbying and setting of industry standard for factoring. They also expressed their desire to work more closely with Tianjin Factors and Discounters Association in the future and to help the newly established Tianjin FDA to better serve its members and the factoring industry in China. John and Erik gave further remarks on the importance of a safe legal environment and for regulators in China to fully recognize independent factor as a financial institution in China because experiences from other countries had showed that independent factors had always played an important role in the development of factoring. The importance of nurturing factoring professionals and setting up a standard for the factoring industry and the role that the domestic factoring association will play in this was also emphasized in the speech by Mr. Ben Hosh, one of industry’s well known veterans, who is now a partner of Triangle Trade Finance. Executives from three local factors, Mr. Daniel, president of Orbrich (China) International Factors (an independent factor), Mr. Shan Jianbo, senior executive vice-president of China Everbright Bank (a domestic bank factor) and Mr. Miyaguichi Takehito, president of Mizuho Corporate Bank China (a foreign bank factor) also gave their thoughts on the future and issues of factoring development in China. All three speakers agreed on the great potential of factoring in China and the current tight monetary policy in China will actually help factoring to excel in China. However changes in certain current legal framework and banking and finance rules are needed for a healthy and long term development of factoring in China.

In conclusion, the forum marked the first time in China where senior government officials, leaders from overseas factoring associations and local bank and independent factors gathered together and openly discussed about the potential, opportunities, issues facing factoring and how to cooperate together in the future development of factoring in China. This significant day for factoring in China ended with the strategic cooperation signing ceremony between IF-Group and Tianjin FDA. The cooperation called for a closer cooperation between the two associations in terms of jointly organizing factoring workshops and seminars in China, extending invitations to members of either organization to attend seminars and workshops organized by either organization on a fee paying basis and encouraging mutual exchange of information and visits between members of either organization.

The entire second day was a factoring workshop seminar conducted by Mr. Ben Hosh and Mr. Nils Otto Nielsen of Triangle Finance. Ben and Nils together went through six modules that covered the history and current position of factoring, description of factoring products, comparison of factoring with other documentary collections such as D/P, D/A and L/C, legal considerations for factoring in China, risk issues, critical operation issues in managing a factoring business and selling and marketing of factoring. In addition to the lecture material, the participants also benefited vastly from the insights of Ben and Nils drawn from their own operation experience in factoring. The workshop seminar ended with a certificate presentation where, because of the limitation of time, ten participants were randomly chosen to personally receive the IF-Group event participation certificate from Erik. Although Vice-Mayor Mr. Cui was not able to appear in person for the closing of the event, he had expressed his desire to make the forum and workshop seminar to become a regular annual event for Tianjin and had pledged the continual support of Tianjin Government to organize this event in the future.

International Factors Group

Lundi 23 Juin 2008

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