About the Export Credit Guarantee Program (GSM-102)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Export Credit Guarantee Program (GSM-102) provides credit guarantees to encourage financing of commercial exports of U.S. agricultural commodities. By reducing financial risk to lenders, credit guarantees encourage exports to importers in countries—mainly developing countries—that have sufficient financial strength to have foreign exchange available for scheduled payments.

The GSM-102 program guarantees credit extended by the private financial sector in the United States (or, less commonly, by the U.S. exporter) to approved foreign financial institutions using dollar-denominated, irrevocable letters of credit for purchases of U.S. food and agricultural products by foreign importers. USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) administers the program on behalf of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), which issues the credit guarantees. GSM-102 covers credit terms of up to 18 months; maximum terms may vary by country.  

CCC guarantees payments due from approved foreign financial institutions to exporters or financial institutions in the United States. However, the financing must be obtained through normal commercial sources. Typically, 98 percent of principal and a portion of interest are covered by a guarantee. Any follow-on credit arrangements between the foreign financial institution and the importer are negotiated separately and are not covered by the CCC guarantee. The FAS website provides information on specific country and commodity allocations and other program information and requirements.

Eligible Countries or Regions 

Interested parties, including U.S. exporters, foreign importers, and financial institutions, may request that CCC establish a GSM-102 program for a country or region. Prior to announcing the availability of guarantees, CCC evaluates the ability of each country and foreign financial institution to service CCC-guaranteed debt. New financial institutions may be added, or levels of approval for others may be increased or decreased, as information becomes available.

Eligible Commodities 

CCC selects agricultural commodities and products according to market potential and eligibility based on applicable legislative and regulatory requirements.

Participation 

CCC must qualify exporters for participation before accepting guarantee applications. Financial institutions must meet established criteria and be approved by CCC. CCC sets limits and advises each approved foreign financial institution on the maximum amount CCC will guarantee for that bank.  Requirements for exporter and U.S. and foreign financial institution participation are available in the program regulation and on the FAS website.

Once approved to participate, the exporter negotiates terms of the export sale with the importer. Once a firm export sale exists, the qualified U.S. exporter must apply for a payment guarantee before the date of export. The exporter pays a fee calculated on the dollar amount guaranteed. Fee rates are currently based on the country risk that CCC is undertaking, including country-specific macroeconomic variables; risk of the foreign obligor (bank); the repayment term (tenor); and repayment frequency under the guarantee.   

Financing 

The CCC-approved foreign financial institution issues a dollar-denominated, irrevocable letter of credit in favor of the U.S. exporter, ordinarily advised or confirmed by the financial institution in the United States agreeing to extend credit to the foreign financial institution. The U.S. exporter may negotiate an arrangement to be paid as exports occur by assigning to an approved U.S. financial institution the right to proceeds that may become payable under the CCC’s guarantee.  The exporter is required to provide a report of export to CCC for each shipment that occurs under the payment guarantee.  If the exporter has assigned the payment guarantee to a U.S. financial institution, the exporter would provide these export reports and other transaction-related documents required by the U.S. financial institution. 

Defaults and Claims

If the foreign financial institution fails to make any payment covered by the GSM-102 guarantee, the holder of the payment guarantee must submit a notice of default to CCC within the timeframe required by the program regulations. A claim for default also may be filed within the required timeframe, and CCC will pay claims found to be in good order.  

For CCC audit purposes, the U.S. exporter must obtain documentation to show that the commodity arrived in the eligible country or region, and the exporter and the assignee must maintain all transaction documents for five years from the date of completion of all payments.

Additional Information

For more information, contact: Credit Programs Division, Office of Trade programs, FAS/USDA, Stop 1025, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250-1025; tel.: (202) 720-6211; fax: (202) 720-2495.  

Export credit guarantee program information, such as country and regional allocations, fee rates, and commodities eligible for coverage, is available on the FAS Web site: www.fas.usda.gov/programs/export-credit-guarantee-program-gsm-102

General information about FAS programs, resources, and services can be found at: www.fas.usda.gov.