Etihad Credit Insurance teams up with Sharjah free zones to support exporters

The agency will offer trade credit insurance and financing to start-ups and SMEs in Hamriyah Free Zone Authority and Sharjah Airport International Free Zone Authority

Etihad Credit Insurance signed a preliminary agreement with Hamriyah Free Zone and Sharjah Airport International Free Zone to help exporters and re-exporters from the free zones boost their business. Photo: ECI
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Etihad Credit Insurance, the UAE's federal export credit agency, is going into partnership with the Hamriyah Free Zone Authority and the Sharjah Airport International Free Zone Authority (Saif Zone) to help exporters and re-exporters in Sharjah expand their international business.

As part of the agreement, ECI will offer its trade credit insurance and financial solutions — including its Sharia-compliant insurance product ECI Islamic — to start-ups and small and medium enterprises operating in the two free zones.

The agency will also provide country risk reports and in-depth market intelligence services to help the companies in the free zones export to foreign countries as well as identify and “flourish” in new growth markets around the world “confidently”, ECI said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Our agreement with the UAE Federal export credit company is a major effort in unlocking new avenues of financing for companies seeking to open operations in Sharjah,” Saud Al Mazrouei, director of Hamriyah Free Zone Authority and Sharjah Airport International Free Zone Authority, said.

“This deal will strengthen the existing initiatives in the free zones to enhance SMEs’ contribution to the local economy with ECI’s insurance and project finance facilities, as well as the market intelligence and advisory services.”

Established in 2018, ECI provides export guarantees and trade insurance for UAE companies to minimise payment risks associated with exporting.

It has partnerships with local and international banks that offer loans to UAE companies to fund exports to overseas buyers, with ECI providing insurance.

In 2021, the agency extended Dh11.4 billion ($3.1bn) worth of support to non-oil trade sector exporters amid a surge in operations as global economies recovered from the coronavirus pandemic.

The agency also facilitated the UAE’s non-oil exports to 92 countries last year, compared with 75 in 2020, according to an annual company report. These exports covered 18 sectors, compared with 15 in 2020.

The top destination countries for UAE’s exports and re-exports include Saudi Arabia, Iraq, India, Oman, Kuwait and Jordan, among others, ECI said in April.

“We are confident that ECI’s trade and project financing support to UAE businesses will reinforce HFZA and Saif Zone’s visions to solidify Sharjah’s position as a destination for global investments and a business centre in the Middle East while sustaining UAE’s position as an export powerhouse even amid the severe disruptions in the current economic cycle,” said Massimo Falcioni, chief executive of Etihad Credit Insurance.

The agency is also boosting collaboration with countries including Egypt, Netherlands, Indonesia, Greece and Turkey.

Earlier this year, it signed an agreement with the Export Credit Guarantee of Egypt to bolster bilateral trade and economic co-operation.

It also signed a preliminary agreement with Turkey’s export credit agency Turk Eximbank to enhance trade and boost business and commercial relations between the two countries.

Updated: July 26, 2022, 2:46 PM