UK government signs deal with major banks and contractors to raise exports post-Brexit

(Bloomberg, London, 13 July 2017) Five of the U.K.’s leading retail banks have pledged more financial support for small British exporters, with government backing, as Prime Minister Theresa May’s administration prepares the country for life after Brexit. The U.K. said its export credit agency reached an agreement with Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS/NatWest and Santander UK Plc to provide export-related trade finance, for example working capital loans and bonds required by overseas buyers, backed by government guarantees. The extra help for British companies to export is part of the U.K. government’s effort to prepare the economy for leaving the EU. Currently, the UK is lagging behind a number of European countries where exports are concerned – such as Germany – and there are worries that trade from UK businesses could weaken following last year’s EU referendum result. UKEF’s credit risk appetite was doubled to £5 billion by the government at the last Autumn Statement and the Department for International Trade (DIT) has set up a ‘Team UK’ construction consortia to bid for overseas contracts. Infrastructure Exports UK will bring together 17 leading UK construction firms and consultants which, individually, have worked on large-scale global projects. IE: UK board members will meet three times a year to choose the projects they wish to bid for as a single business, with government support.