APCA 2001

APCA 2001 convened at possibly the most inopportune time between 13th to 14th Sep 2001 following cocktails on the evening of 12th Sep. Asia was by then already steeped in recession. The double whammy came in the form of the Sep 11 tragedy in New York and the ensuing turmoil in the commodities market, air travel constraints and the power of the television to steal the crowd from us. Nonetheless, some 45 delegates attended and gave APCA 2001 a high rating of 7.33 over 10 (with 10 being the highest). This is a report on APCA 2001.

We were honoured that the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific chose to use the APCA platform to assist representatives of least developed countries to “learn about structured finance techniques, their contents, applicability and conditions for use as well as to make contacts with professionals who could assist in negotiating such deals when they are appropriate”.

With its return to Singapore, APCA seized this opportunity to recognise companies and individuals who have helped in bringing about APCA and making its vision come true. KPMG and Dr. Christoph Kamm received the APCA Award from our Guest of Honour, Mr. Leong Horn Kee, Member of Parliament and Chairman of Singapore Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Industry and Finance.

We are grateful for the generous financial support of the Singapore Trade Development and the Singapore Tourism Board, E-Offsets and Texline Associates without which the losses for APCA 2001 would have been deeper.

The conference kicked off with speeches from UN ESCAP and UNCTAD and the World Bank. Dr. Seok-Dong Wang of UN ESCAP spoke of the needs of developing countries and Mr. Lamon Rutten of UNCTAD and the World Bank on pushing the frontiers of structured finance. Mr. Rutten’s presentation discussed how structured finance has evolved over the past decade, describes which opportunities still lie largely unexplored and identifies how banks and others can demarcate a role for themselves in this area.

Professor Douglas Wood gave a convincing argument of the role and benefits of countertrade post WTO. Professor Wood’s point is best summarized as follows: “as old-fashioned countertrade shrinks the instrument is being reborn in an unexpected quarter. It is ironic that as the world eliminates the role for countertrade as it eliminates barriers to free movement of capital and goods it will rediscover it as business that control access to customers will take a more holistic view of transaction”.

Mr. Willem Klaassens of WestLB undertook a case study of a typical offset transaction giving everyone an insight into the minds of the structured finance banker.

With countertrade and structured finance completed on the first day of plenary meetings, the second day was devoted to countertrade and offset.

Dr. Christoph Kamm brought everyone up-to-date with the latest developments in the offset world. Dr. Kamm gave a convincing argument that that the outlook and the principles guiding countertrade and offset transactions for the future will witness more creativity, higher quality, increasing costs but adding more value

Mr. Carl Grooms, the Managing Director of E-Offsets introduced the world’s first B2B global portal for offsets.

Dr. Abdul Aziz Jazzar, the Chief Executive Officer of International Systems Engineering Company, a company formed as a result of the Saudi Arabia’s offset program, gave the Saudi experience of a successful implementation of an IT technology transfer model.

Finally Mr. Shahin Nourafchan, managing director of Menalink Holdings defined the elements of a successful offset program and provided practical tools for identifying, structuring and developing offset proects that are both commercially viable and consistent with the strategic goals and objectives of a country offset program.

We are grateful to all the officials, sponsors and speakers who have made APCA 2001 successful at a time when the world saw one of its saddest moments.