Australia’s deputy prime minister and minister for trade, Mark Vaile, has launched Efic Headway, a new financial product that boosts access to working capital for small to medium-sized exporters (SMEs) by up to 20%.

Vaile says: “This is an important initiative to assist Australian exporters grow their businesses and in turn strengthen our economy.”

Developed in an alliance with Westpac, the product will help SME exporters who have reached their maximum loan capacity and need to extend their existing lending facilities with their bank. Efic Headway is a guarantee for the additional amount.

“Efic Headway is unique as it will be distributed by the banking system, and it will be an integral part of an SME exporter’s relationship with its bank. It’s an innovative way of providing SME exporters access to additional working capital,” adds Vaile.

Banks will play a central role in delivering Efic Headway. Westpac, HSBC, ANZ, NAB, CBA and BankWest have signed as distributors. More banks are expected to join.

Efic Headway will be available for a wide range of SME exporters at a competitive price and with minimal documentation requirements. SMEs will be able to apply that additional funding to a wide range of export related purposes.

Vaile says, “This government recognises the importance of SMEs and I know they are reaping benefits from our bilateral FTAs with the US, Thailand and Singapore.

“The product is one part of Australia’s co-ordinated trade strategy that seeks to maximise Australian exporters “success in the global market. And this means less export opportunities lost to offshore competition due to working capital shortages.”