One of the new recommendations for 2021 focuses on the UK government’s new fossil fuel policy which prevents UKEF from financing overseas oil and gas projects, with BExA calling for it to be reviewed in order to remove a “cliff-edge” approach to financing and thereby ensure UK businesses keep pace with sustainable transitions so as not to be left behind by their overseas competitors.
The other new recommendation centres on the wording of UKEF’s Export Insurance Policy (EXIP), which BExA believes would benefit from adopting more “plain English” principles, avoiding cross references, and being clear about what risks are being covered. In reviewing advancement on 2020 recommendations, BExA welcomes the launch of the Government’s new Export Strategy – “Made in the UK, Sold to the World” - in November 2021. The strategy represents an impressive commitment to developing exports, with an ambitious target of £1trn of exports by 2030. In the report, BExA also applauds UKEF’s Export Development Guarantee (EDG) and General Export Facility (GEF), which are considered to be game changers for UK exporters, and recommends that these products be marketed effectively to ensure as many exporters as possible benefit from the support. With Tender to Contract (TTC) foreign exchange rate cover still missing from UKEF’s portfolio, its score for product range has been pegged at 9/10. However, lobbying by BExA for the introduction of TTC has continued, including submission of evidence to the International Trade Select Committee inquiry into the work of UKEF. In its response this month to the inquiry report, UKEF has stated that “we will work with BExA over the next few months to understand if there is a viable product that will complement what is on offer from the private market and report back”.
Chief Executive of UK Export Finance, Louis Taylor, said, “We welcome BExA’s findings which recognise the historic amount of work we’ve done to support UK businesses throughout the pandemic. At UKEF, we have undergone massive changes to make sure our products remain suitable for exporters facing today’s challenges and will also help them to grow in the future. We won’t stop there. By continuing to support more sustainable projects and working with organisations like BExA to expand our offer, we will help exporters sell more of what is made in the UK to the world.”
A full copy of the report can be downloaded here.