Africa China Agent Proposition
The importing process from China comes with its own set of risks and challenges for African importers. Because we understand the risks that you may face when trading with China, Standard Bank has introduced the Africa China Agent Proposition. The offering was designed to assist you with connecting with the right suppliers in China and to help you source and validate the quality of goods.
What You Get
Our Africa China Agent Proposition will support you during the different stages of your trading journey:
- Travel logistics.
- Supplier sourcing.
- Goods quality validation.
- Transactional banking capability.
- Working capital facility.
- Foreign exchange telegraphic transfers.
- Issuance of letter of credit (LC).
- Discounting of LCs.
- Documentary inwards collection.
- Import financing.
- Transit insurance.
- Working capital lines.
- Cash management facility.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the aim or benefit of ACAP?
A: The main aim is to connect African importers to Chinese suppliers through a nominated Agent, thereby delivering value our clients. The Agent ensures that you get the best deals by doing the following:
- Sourcing the right suppliers for your business.
- Negotiating the best prices and trade conditions on your behalf.
- Arranging travel logistics when you need to travel to China to meet with various suppliers.
- Providing translators to facilitate trade negotiations and discussions.
- Validating and ensuring the quality of goods from the suppliers meet the agreed and required standards you.
- Providing financing services based on letter of credit from SBG and ICBC, should the need arise.
- Handling the shipping logistics and delivery to destination, depending on customer’s preference.
Q: How will the ACAP offering benefit African clients?
A: Currently African importers have a limited view of China’s supplier universe. African Importers generally must 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.
Q: How will the ACAP offering benefit Chinese clients and Chinese suppliers?
A: 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 payment 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.
Q: What is the name of the Agent?
A: Zhejiang International Trading Supply Chain Co Ltd, also known as Guomao. They are a China-based agent appointed by ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China) and Standard Lesotho Bankto assist African importers execute trade seamlessly with China. Currently, Guomao has about 35 000 Suppliers linked to them.
Q: What minimum volume of importation do I need to do before I can benefit from ACAP?
A: The agent can help with any size of importation. There is no restriction in terms of size or volume of import.
Q: Does Guomao focus or specialise on any product type?
A: Guomao has a broad expertise and can handle procurement of all kinds of products, raw materials and goods. They can leverage their supplier base of over 35 000 companies to deliver on all orders.
Q: What if I have an existing supplier?
A: You can still get quotations from your present suppliers and compare to that of Guamao for the same product quality before taking a decision on which one you would like to go with. Guamao will not charge any fees if the trade is not consummated through them, so you can make as much enquiries as possible.
Q: What is the turnaround time (TAT) once negotiations have been concluded and initial payment has been made?
A: This is provided on a case-by-case basis depending on the product specification. This is also subject to local shipping terms and documentation procedures.
Q: Can payment be structured?
A: Yes, this will be agreed with the Agent prior to initial upfront payment. The aim is to free up your cash flows and help you get more products with reduced down payment to Suppliers.
Q: What are the allowable modes/currency of payment?
A: Payments can be made through LCs, Bills or Telegraphic transfers depending on the importer’s preference. Guamao will not insist on any payment mode.
Standard Lesotho Bank can also issue RMB LCs to make payments for goods procured under this proposition. This eradicates the need for you to source dollars (USD), thereby resulting in faster transactional TAT.
Q: Am I allowed to import items on the CBN’s exclusion list?
A: Yes, the items on the CBN’s exclusion list are allowed. Items on the list are not “contra-bands” but only excluded from accessing the official windows to source FX, so all such items will have their Forms M registered as non-valid for FX.
Q: Do I have to be a customer of Standard Lesotho Bankbefore I can benefit from ACAP?
Q: How long do I have to run my account with Standard Lesotho Bankbefore I can benefit from ACAP?
A: You are not required to run an account with us for a specific period before you can benefit from ACAP. You can be linked to the Agent, Guomao, immediately when you open an account with StanbicIBTC Bank Plc.
Q: Can I make payments to Guamao from my other bank accounts?
A: No, all payments to Guamao must be made from a Standard Lesotho Bankaccount.
Q: Who takes responsibility if the received goods are not what was agreed upon?
A: The Agent, Guamao, takes full responsibility to rectify any default on behalf of the customer.
Q: Is this also applicable to imports from other countries?
A: No, it is only applicable to imports from China.
Q: Will the Bank charge me for the link to Guamao and this proposition?
A: No, it is free for us to link you to our Agent. However, normal bank transactional charges apply when the trade/import request is to be consummated.
Q: What commission does Guamao charge when I need to complete orders through them?
A: Where all enquiries have been satisfactorily dealt and you place an order, Guamao charges a commission of between 3%-5% of the value of the import. Note that they can get you very competitive pricing on products so that that the overall cost is lower when compared to market price.
Q: Can I talk to the Suppliers directly?
A: Yes, Guamao can link you to the suppliers for direct discussions.
Q: If I want to travel to China to see my suppliers, can Guomao assist?
A: Yes, Guomao can assist by providing a Chinese Government invitation letter and help with logistics arrangements.
Q: What is in this for Standard Bank?
A: In line with our key purpose of driving Africa’s growth, we seek to use our links with ICBC to solve observed trade problems with China, so our clients can have a competitive edge over other players in their chosen business areas and grow their business volumes. Our aim is to become the “go to” Bank as far as Global Trade is concerned with emphasis on Africa China Trade. We believe this proposition is of immense value to our clients and will help us achieve our purpose as a Bank.
Q: How do I contact Guomao?
A: Kindly send an email to [email protected] with the following details:
- Promoters Name
- Business Name
- Standard Lesotho BankAccount Number
- Relationship Manager (If known)
- Product(s) to be imported i.e. Product Name, Type, Specifications and Volume required.
You can also call 8002 2122 during the hours of Mon-Fri 7:00am -7:00pm, Saturday 7:00am-3:00pm and request to speak to a Relationship Manager in Africa China Banking.
What Does It Cost
There is no cost, this is a service provided by Standard Lesotho Bank for its clients.
African importers (who are Standard Lesotho Bank clients) can access China’s broad universe of suppliers, as well as the entire Standard Bank Group 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 lesotho Bank’s digital trading platform, called Trade Club.