UK Export Finance's busy start to 2023

Wed 29 Mar 2023
Posted by: Richard Cree
Trade News
Piggy bank with UK flag surrounded by money

UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK’s export credit agency, has appointed its first international export finance executive (IEFE) for South Korea.

IEFEs are global representatives for UKEF based outside the UK and typically work within the Origination, Client Coverage, Marketing and Communications (OCCMC) division.

With £4bn of funding on offer to buyers, provided they source at least 20% from the UK, the IEFE will work to facilitate major financing deals for Korean businesses seeking to build relationships with UK exporters.

The IEFE will provide dedicated, on-the-ground specialist support from within the British embassy in Seoul, working with other UK government departments to showcase the expertise, capability and profile of UK businesses.

South Korea is currently the UK’s 18th largest export market, with £10.2bn of exports to the country for the year to June 2022.

Albania ahoy

Earlier this week Tim Reid, CEO of UKEF, met the Albanian prime minister, Edi Rama, and Albanian finance minister, Delina Ibrahimaj, to announce an ambition that closer trading relationships between the two countries could unlock up to £4bn.

Speaking at the meeting, Reid highlighted the “significant opportunity” for UK businesses in Albania. 

“The volume of trade with Albania is increasing dramatically, showing the huge appetite for British exports. Our closer relationship with Albania will unlock a new phase of collaboration in sectors such as renewable energy, healthcare, and transport.”

Also at the meeting, Ibrahimaj pointed out that Albania has a strong pipeline of key infrastructure projects that will need overseas investment.

“This agreement to work more closely with the UK should send a signal to British business that Albania has markets ready for your products and UKEF can support you in your export ambitions.”

According to the Department for Business and Trade (DBT), total UK exports to Albania reached £144m over the 12 months to September 2022, up by £97m on the previous year.

Last December, Rama and UK PM, Rishi Sunak, issued a joint communique on enhancing bilateral cooperation in areas of common interest, including developing stronger trade relations between the two nations.

Trade as a force for good

This follows a good start to the year for UKEF, which has also provided £130m in support for the construction of a new specialist burns hospital in Kilamba, Angola.

The deal between UKEF and the Angolan Ministry of Finance, supported by Standard Chartered Bank and Lloyds Bank, is part of a plan to bolster trade ties between the UK and Angola. The terms of the deal mean that 40% of the project will be fulfilled by UK suppliers, totalling over £50m in potential export opportunities for domestic businesses.

As previously reported in the IOE&IT Daily Update, Tim Reid took over as CEO in January, having previously been UKEF’s director of business group. He joined UKEF in 2022 after a long career in senior global positions at HSBC.