UK Export Finance (UKEF) has announced that its £50 billion war chest to support British trade is “open for business”.

Speaking at the UK Trade & Export Finance Forum in London yesterday, Exports Minister Mike Freer urged British businesses to take advantage of the extra funding being made available by UKEF – Britain’s export credit agency.

He also encouraged businesses to take advantage of the new trade deals that the UK has signed with 70 countries and the European Union (EU) – the world’s largest trading bloc.

“There are huge areas of untapped export potential across the UK,” Freer said in his keynote address. 

“One in seven firms with a turnover over £500,000 are not exporting and could be. UKEF is here to help change that.”

Export revolution

In a press statement, UKEF said this year’s annual forum was designed to kickstart an “export revolution” driven by Britain’s ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’ campaign.

With global trade expected to quadruple in value by 2050, ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’ aims to boost UK exports from an annual £600 billion in 2020 to £1 trillion per year by 2030.

Freer also highlighted how UKEF has supported businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, by filling gaps in private sector provision during an unstable period for the global economy.

“Over the last 18 months, UKEF has been agile and responsive to the needs of the market,” he said. 

“The department underwent radical changes and emerged stronger, but it has billions of pounds remaining. I am here to say it can do even more. It is open for business.”

Looking back on the last two years, Freer recapped some of the highlights of UKEF’s financing activities, which Trade Finance Global has summarised below:

  • In November 2021, UKEF issued its largest ever guarantee, worth £217 million, to help British contractors build Turkey’s largest solar energy plant
  • Since March 2021, UKEF’s new General Export Facility (GEF) has issued £123 million to over 60 businesses
  • The Export Development Guarantee (EDG), which allows UKEF to finance a company’s exporting business, has been transformed to support businesses that don’t export but could be, and offers more generous terms to green exporters
  • Since its 2019 launch, UKEF has supported over £10 billion of commercial loans to UK exporters through the EDG

While also announcing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between UKEF and US-based General Electric, Freer emphasised the importance of green industries and export projects for British trade going forward.

Freer said that UKEF’s 20% budget hike, funded by the premium income that UKEF generates for the taxpayer, will fund the expansion of the agency’s products, overseas staff, and will help support green projects targeting net zero across the agency’s portfolio.

“From carbon capture to green hydrogen, and offshore wind to green bonds, the UK is immensely strong, and we must export our expertise to the world,” he said.

 “We have set an ambitious goal to achieve a trillion pounds’ worth of exports a year by 2030. 

“But behind this headline figure are countless businesses, communities, and people. 

“And vital for delivering for all three, will be an expanded and re-energised UKEF – turbocharging exports and ensuring what is made in the UK is sold to the world.”