International Trade Committee launches inquiries into UK Export Finance and trade remedies policy
30 July 2020
The International Trade Committee today launches two inquiries, examining the work of UK Export Finance, and the Government's trade remedies policy.
UK Export Finance
UK Export Finance (UKEF) is the UK's official export credit agency, tasked with ensuring that “no viable UK export fails for lack of finance or insurance from the private sector, while operating at no net cost to the taxpayer.”
UKEF recently published its 2020-24 business plan, and during the COVID-19 pandemic has supported exporters by temporarily extending its Export Insurance Policy, with further support measures for businesses to be launched over the coming months.
Scope of the inquiry
The Committee's inquiry will examine UKEF's operations and its engagement with stakeholders, and is now open for submissions on some, or all, of the following questions until 5.00 pm on Friday, 25 September.
- How comprehensive is UKEF's product offering - and how attractive are particular products when compared with private sector options?
- How suitable is UKEF's process for assessing applications for support?
- Do particular sectors, types of projects, or projects involving certain export destinations receive more UKEF support than others?
- Are UKEF's performance targets suitable? Is UKEF's current financial allocation from HM Treasury and risk appetite appropriate to allow it to meet these targets?
- How can UKEF continue to support economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic?
- How user-friendly are UKEF products for its range of customers, including small and medium enterprises? How well does UKEF communicate its offering to new and existing customers?
- How does UKEF engage with DIT, the British Business Bank and private sector partners to ensure the requirements of businesses exporting overseas are met?
- To what extent does UKEF draw on external expertise and knowledge in the design and review of its products?
- What could UKEF learn from other successful export credit agencies around the world?
UK trade remedies policy
Trade remedies, or trade defence, describes the use of policies to restrict imports where a country believes they are unfairly damaging domestic producers, through dumping, subsidies or unforeseen surges in supply.
Trade defence measures generally take the form of temporary, targeted tariffs, and after the end of the post-Brexit transition period, the UK will be responsible for its own independent trade remedies policy. The Trade Bill contains provisions for the creation of a non-departmental public body, the Trade Remedies Authority, with a temporary directorate within the Department for International Trade currently in place pending the Trade Bill becoming law.
Scope of the inquiry
The Committee's inquiry into UK Trade Remedies Policy welcomes submissions on some, or all, of the following points by 5pm on Friday 18 September:
- How will the Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) and the Secretary of State for International Trade work together in carrying out their respective roles?
- What will be the role of Parliament in scrutinising the operation of the TRA?
- How will the TRA ensure that the full range of relevant stakeholder views and interests is taken into account when advising the Secretary of State?
- How adequate are the TRA's powers and resources (including the number of its staff and their level of skill and expertise)?
- What is the timetable for the review of transitioned EU Trade Defence Measures (TDMs); what methodology is being used; and how do transitioned TDMs and the review process stand in relation to World Trade Organization law?
- What will be the TRA's process for conducting new trade remedies investigations?
- What will be the arrangements for the use and implementation of TDMs (including mechanisms for appealing against them)?
- How will the trade remedies regime interact with the Northern Ireland Protocol of the EU Withdrawal Agreement?