UK Export Finance is open for business with billions available to unleash our untapped export potential
The pandemic has caused unparalleled disruptions to global trade – but the world is rebounding, and we must be ready to meet the challenges of tomorrow.
Since becoming exports minister, I’ve had a whirlwind first three months, visiting countries from the US and South Korea to Peru and Kuwait – banging the drum for British Exports in everyone one of them. I have seen that the best of British is still in high demand.
Our trade negotiators have done a magnificent job opening doors for UK exporters, agreeing on trade deals with 70 countries and the EU – trade worth more than three-quarters of a trillion pounds last year.
One in seven firms with a turnover over £500k are not exporting and could be
But trade deals mean nothing if businesses do not take advantage. That is why exporters are at the heart of the deals we are signing, and we have launched a new Export Strategy.
The reality is there are vast areas of untapped export potential across the UK. One in seven firms with a turnover over £500k are not exporting and could be.
UK Export Finance (UKEF) is a vital tool in the government’s exporting toolkit that can help change that. UKEF is the UK’s export credit agency (ECA), providing financial support through loans, guarantees and insurance to our nation’s exporters. All at no long-term net cost to the taxpayer.
Over the last two years, it has undergone a radical transformation and has a huge £50 billion balance sheet to support UK exports. That’s why I am declaring today - it is open for business.
UKEF has issued more than £120 million through its new small business-focused General Export Facility (GEF) since March 2021, backing the export of everything from children’s clothing from South Wales and steel castings from Teesside to refrigerated vaccine containers from Aberdeen.
It can also now bring cutting edge businesses to our shores with its offer now available to cover companies who do not yet export from the UK. Inward investment is key to our recovery, and this enhanced offering from UKEF will stimulate speedy growth in the UK supply chain, making them ready for the challenges of tomorrow.
And it is not just the UK that stands to benefit from our exports. As COP26 made clear, we need a global green industrial revolution.
UKEF has blazed a trail by becoming the first ECA in the world to end support for overseas fossil fuel projects and is now backing more green exporters with favourable payment terms.
These radical changes are already working. In the last financial year, UKEF issued more than £12 billion worth of finance and insurance for exporters – the highest level in 30 years. But it can do more to help UK businesses get the exporters edge.
I want to let every UK business out there know, UKEF can support your general financing needs. Whatever your size and wherever you’re based – UKEF has the might of the Treasury’s balance sheet behind it to support you.
UKEF is an ECA fit for the future – ready to help exporters face the challenges of tomorrow.
Mike Freer is the Conservative MP Finchley and Golders Green and the minister for exports.
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