International update: Continuing international trade during COVID-19

Published: Monday 6 April 2020

As COVID-19 escalates around the globe it is important to remember that there are organisations ready and able to support with business continuity, including for those businesses trading internationally. With the global pandemic affecting the vast majority of countries, there are governments and local authorities around the world ready to provide aid to business owners. For UK businesses trading internationally, we have summarised some of the support available below.

International links

As an independent member of HLB, we are part of a fast-growing, dynamic network of independent professional accounting firms and business advisers. As well as providing you access to an international network of over 280 advisory firms across 158 countries, HLB is also keeping us all up to date with their coronavirus insights from across the globe, here.

Department for international trade (DIT)

If you are a business that trades internationally, you will almost certainly have dealt with the DIT in the past; however, you should also be aware that DIT can currently support businesses by:

  • providing assistance with customs authorities to ensure smooth clearance of their products;
  • offering advice on intellectual property and other issues with business continuity; and
  • support with accessing alternative suppliers if your supply chain has been affected.

If your business is facing disruption due to the spread of coronavirus, you can visit the dedicated business support website which contains the latest information, plus some case studies to help you understand how other businesses are currently accessing support.

UK export finance (UKEF)

No matter what size your business, support is available to make sure you can fulfil and get paid for export contracts. UKEF provides guarantees, loans and insurance that can protect UK exporters facing delays to payments or transit restrictions.

The support you could receive from UKEF includes:

  • Reducing cash flow constraints by guaranteeing bank loans via its export working capital scheme.
  • An export insurance policy to help recover costs of an order which may have been terminated due to circumstances out of the control of the organisation. This policy is subject to the exporter must demonstrating an inability to obtain credit insurance from the commercial market.
  • If you are still trying to work with your overseas buyers, UKEF also provides loans via its direct lending scheme of up to £200 million made in up to eight currencies, allowing the overseas buyers to continue purchasing capital goods and/or services from UK exporters. There is no lower limit to these loans, although for anything below £5 million UKEF may offer alternative finance options.

For more information and support on continuing international trade during COVID-19, please contact Scott Lawrence at or 01242 680000.

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