UK Export Finance (UKEF) has launched a new product to help support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through challenging market conditions.

Attending the UK Trade & Export Finance Forum 2022, Trade Finance Global (TFG) were on the ground when Minister for Exports Andrew Bowie, announced the launch of the new Bills and Notes.

Bills and Notes are a standard method of payment where money is due under bills of exchange or promissory notes.

The product is now open to guarantee payments by overseas buyers and will ensure more financial institutions with a simpler, streamlined process.

The announcement came almost a year to the day of the government’s launch of its export strategy and the concrete target of getting UK PLC to £1 trillion in export sales.

Bowie said, “To deliver growth, level up the country, and future-proof our economy, we need to export more.

“Our new Bills and Notes Guarantee is…the latest in our support for SMEs and provides a faster and more streamlined process to get money in businesses accounts.”

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UKEF has now improved its offer to enable overseas buyers of UK goods to benefit from extended payment terms, structured using these methods.

Simply put, it means small UK businesses can get paid faster and more conveniently for their exports. This helps with crucial cash flow and liquidity.

Through partnerships with specialist lenders, UKEF can now support a greater range of UK––including those with smaller transactions––by arranging tailored, deferred payment facilities for companies worldwide.

In 2021-22, 81% of companies supported by UKEF were SMEs, a new record for UKEF. This is underpinned by the General Export Facility (GEF) designed to give SME exporters more flexibility in accessing trade finance.

Moreover, UKEF provided £27 million of support to ensure UK SMEs got paid up front to fulfill export contracts, using its Standard Buyer Loan Guarantee scheme, while overseas buyers benefit from flexible repayment terms.

This announcement comes as part of its wider package of support for SMEs in its mission to remove barriers to trade. In September 2022, TFG partnered with UKEF and the Department of International Trade (DIT) to create an SME guide that aligns with this mission.