UK Export Finance (UKEF)
UK Export Finance is the operating name of the Export Credits Guarantee Department, the United Kingdom’s export credit agency. ECGD was founded in 1919 and sits within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Its purpose is to complement the private market by providing assistance to UK exporters, principally in the form of insurance and guarantees to banks.
Historically, the ECGD's portfolio has been docminated by Airbus sales to emerging economies and by arms exports, although the volume of the latter has declined from 57% of the portfolio in 2007-08 to less than 5% of the portfolio in 2012. The Department has also backed major oil and gas developments, including BP's Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan pipeline which brings oil from the Caspian to western markets, and a number of dams, including the corruption-tainted Lesotho Highlands Water Project, which involved forced displacement of affected communities. Recently, the ECGD has moved away from backing "big ticket" projects to supporting shorter-term export credits.
Who is involved
UKEF/ECGD is accountable to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Dodgy deals associated with UKEF
ECGD has been associated with arms sales to dictators or regimes with poor human rights records, for instance supporting British companies exporting arms to General Suharto's tyrannical regime in Indonesia. ECGD was involved in financing the Bonny Island Liquid Natural Gas Plant in Nigeria, which has been associated with corruption, and with the BTC pipeline, which has had major human rights and environmental impacts.
For more details and information on specific deals and projects, visit the campaign to clean up Britain's exports.