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Economy Economy

Put UK Export Finance at the heart of the UK’s trade proposition

Last updated: 02:52pm 8 December 2019

We will put UK Export Finance, which ensures that no viable UK export fails for lack of finance or insurance, at the heart of the UK’s trade promotion proposition.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.15

Our verdict

In 2017, according to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, exports accounted for 30% of our GDP. That year, the national survey of exports, from the Department for International Trade, revealed that about 30% of businesses reported costs as a strong barrier to export. This policy promises to prioritise finance and insurance in export strategy via the export credit agency, UK Export Finance (UKEF).

In August 2018, the government published the  Export Strategy policy paper, outlining measures aimed at increasing exports to 35% of GDP. It reaffirms the commitment to put UKEF “at the heart” of the plan, by raising awareness of its products, fostering networks between supply chains, consortia and large UK exporters, and analysing UKEF’s current powers to identify opportunities to improve its products.

In line with the strategy, in April 2019, UKEF launched a consultation on Foreign Content Policy, to review regulations on funding for exports with a proportion of foreign content. The government’s response accepted the new principles, allowing financial support for projects with up to 20% foreign participation.

The government restated this policy commitment in its published strategy to boost exports. However, beyond that strategy we did not find evidence that the government has rolled out an awareness raising campaign, or promoted networks between supply chains, consortia and large exporters. Nevertheless, UKEF did begin reviewing current and potential products and implementing changes. This policy is ‘in progress’.

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