The UK is doubling its financial assistance for exporters, quadrupling the number of pre-approved currencies and pumping the Department of International Trade (DIT) with £79.4mn, in a bid to support trade as it exits from the European Union.

The new measures, which were announced in the UK chancellor’s autumn statement, will see the UK Export Finance’s (UKEF) total risk appetite double to £5bn and the maximum cover limit for individual markets increase by up to 100%.

“UKEF’s Risk Appetite Limit (RAL) is a measure of risk based on an assessment of future losses. This limit will double from £2.5bn to £5bn, giving twice as much capacity to support new export business globally,” a spokesperson for UKEF explains to GTR.

“The maximum permitted size of UKEF’s portfolio is £50bn. These autumn statement announcements, doubling UKEF’s RAL and increasing individual country cover limits by up to 100%, mean UKEF can better exploit this £50bn portfolio.

“In principle, cover capacity in each market we support could double but this will be subject to individual market risk reviews and will not be automatic.”

In a further move, the statement announced that the number of pre-approved local currencies in which UKEF can offer support, would increase from 10 to 40, enabling more overseas buyers of UK exports to pay in their own currency.

The new currency list as provided to GTR includes:

Bharaini Dinar, Botswana Pula, Brazilian Real, Chilean Peso, Chinese Yuan, Egyptian Pounds, Hong Kong Dollars, Icelandic Krona, Indian Rupees, Indonesian Rupiah, Israeli new Shekel, Kenyan Shilling, Kuwaiti Dinar, Malaysian Ringgit, Mauritian Rupee, Mexican Pesos, Omani Rial, Peruvian Sol, Polish Zlote, Qatari Riyal, Russian Ruble, Saudi Riyal, Singapore dollars, South African Rand, Thai Bhat, Turkish Lira, UAE Dirham, Ugandan Shilling, Uruguayan Peso and Zambian Kwacha.

The DIT will also receive an additional £79.4mn to build and deliver an international trade policy. The funding is aimed at boosting the department’s expertise and experience.

The UK’s shortage in negotiators was highlighted by a government review of Whitehall, shortly after the Brexit vote. Members of a select committee revealed that the UK has only 20 active specialist trade negotiators that currently faced a 600-strong team from the European Commission.

The committee stated that the UK will have to boost staff in Brussels and embassies across the world as it prepares for Brexit negotiations and fights to have its voice heard in new competition with the EU, the US and other countries.