Monday, April 6, 2020

UK Government Eases the Passage of Exports for Thousands of Shippers

Insurance Cover and More Available Welcomed by Freight Forwarders
Shipping News Feature

UK – One side effect of the current crisis sees a softening of the government's attitude toward export guarantees with the news that the Department for International Trade (DIT) today outlined measures to take the pressure off exporters and investors trading internationally, offering details of financial support, assistance with customs matters, as well as the already proposed measures to supply export insurance cover.

Having announced it will waive import taxes on medical equipment crucial to the fight against coronavirus, the DIT now says it has communicated directly with 160,000 exporters and investors to advise them of the latest changes. International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, said:

”During this turbulent time, we are taking every step we can to ensure UK exporters are protected and that the economy remains strong. As part of this, the UK government has emailed 160,000 exporters and investors across the country to outline the support measures available to them.

”The government’s network of trade, policy and business specialists across the UK and around the world will continue to provide support where it is most needed, to ensure the country can continue trading during this difficult time.”

Last week the government set out details of its Export Insurance Policy offering cover against the risk of either not being paid under an export contract or not being able to recover the costs of performing that contract because of certain events which prevent its performance or lead to its termination, all linked to explanatory videos.

These policies have cover up to 95% against specific risks provided the exporter trades in the UK and the buyer is trading overseas, and the exporter can evidence the inability to obtain credit insurance from the commercial market.

The DIT says that UK businesses will now be eligible to secure export insurance cover to markets including the EU, US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland with immediate effect, following UK Export Finance expanding the scope of its Export Insurance Policy (EXIP).

News of today’s communication was music to the ears of the British International Freight Association (BIFA) which welcomed the statement with BIFA Director General Robert Keen, saying:

“We understand that UK businesses are now eligible to secure export insurance cover to major international markets, in addition to export finance, to keep trading during the coronavirus outbreak. We also understand that DIT is ready to provide assistance with customs authorities to ensure smooth clearance of businesses’ products, and to offer advice on intellectual property and other issues with business continuity.

“These are the sort of initiatives that can support international exports and are welcome news for BIFA members, which as freight forwarders, are responsible for the logistics services that underpin much of Britain’s visible domestic and international trade.

“This follows the news that the government will waive import taxes on medical equipment crucial to the fight against coronavirus, much of which is shipped by BIFA members. If UK exporters are protected, that should have a knock on effect on the freight forwarders that many exporters rely upon to provide logistics services.”