Does foreign competition affect corporate debt maturity structure? Evidence from import penetration

Nader Atawnah*, Rashid Zaman, Jia Liu, Thaer Atawna, Aktham Maghyereh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper examines an unexplored issue of how a firm's competitive environment, proxied by import penetration, affects its debt maturity structure. We document a significant, positive relationship between foreign product competition and the proportion of short-term debt. Our results are robust to a series of sensitivity tests and endogeneity concerns. Utilising large, unexpected reductions in import tariffs as exogenous shocks to foreign competition, we validate the positive effect of import penetration on short-term debt. Our results hold more strongly for firms with high information asymmetry and weak external monitoring. These findings indicate that lenders offer short-term debt to prospective borrowers when they exhibit higher information asymmetry in response to increased foreign competition. Additional tests reveal that short-term debt in a firm's financial structure, contingent upon foreign competition, encourages managers to engage in tax avoidance as an alternative funding source. Our study provides novel evidence of the consequential impact of foreign product competition in debt contracting, giving us insights into its practical implications for corporate strategies and the ramifications of trade liberalisation for policymakers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102539
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Review of Financial Analysis
Early online date31 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • foreign product competition
  • corporate debt maturity
  • information asymmetry
  • institutional investors
  • analysts following

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