Ecusson de la République et du canton de Genève


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Commodities trading & trade finance

One of Geneva's leading sector is trading and trade finance. With 400 companies that now handle the majority of global transactions, Geneva is a world leader in trade in oil, sugar, coffee, grains, rice and oilseeds. This cluster of international trading firms is more than amply supported by a concentration of banks that understand their specific business and financing needs, as well as insurance companies, law firms, accounting firms, forwarding agents, inspection and verification companies and shipbuilders. Over 8,000 people are directly employed in the trading sector.

Geneva’s banks offer a large range of trade-financing products: guarantees, loans, pre- and post-financing, country-risk coverage, etc. Trading companies can count on a reliable international network, close relations with international storage companies, and easy access to stock markets and liquidity. Geneva has a very highly qualified workforce in international trading and its know-how is a considerable asset.

Geneva: world trading hub

  • Second in Europe only to London for international trade
  • Around 400 trading companies, supported by a plethora of insurance companies, law firms, banks, accounting, forwarding, surveillance and security firms, and shipbuilders
  • World leader in trade finance, handling 40% to 60% of global transactions

Some of the commodities traded in the Lake Geneva region

  • 35% of the world’s cereals and oilseeds
  • 50% of the world’s coffee
  • 50% of the world’s sugar
  • 35% of the world’s rice
  • 35% of the world’s oil
  • as well as natural gas, ethanol, cotton, etc.

In 2006, companies and banks active in commodity trading created the Geneva Trading and Shipping Association (GTSA) to represent the interests of its more than 70 member companies, both large and small, active in trading, freight, financing and related services.

To learn more about all aspects of Geneva's trading and trade finance business, please consult the 2006  and 2012 special issues of Why Geneva.

“Moving to Switzerland was easy – from decision to opening took about four months. It was easy to find a great location near the airport, with everything functioning as it is supposed to. Recruiting locally is also straightforward. Moving here will enable us to retain and attract leading talent and help to strengthen our position across the industry.” 
Per Harkjaer, CEO, United Coffee