“Trade policy is not the only game in town,” came the reminder in June from one of the opening speakers at a GTR conference in London.

The message was that, in the absence of trade deals and arrangements that tick all the boxes, there are other ways for exporters to grow their business. They can, for example, develop good relationships with buyers in other markets, and implement measures to attract the right people into their companies and make quality goods worthy of export in the first place. The private sector has to “want to” export, we heard.

And yet the numbers cannot be ignored: in July the UK’s exports of goods beyond the European Union border took a knock despite the weak pound, widening the deficit in trade with non-EU countries to £2.4bn. Uncertainty around the country’s future trading relationship is clearly sapping business confidence, not helped by the European Commission’s warnings to EU firms to be wary of using UK-manufactured goods when exporting to third countries, as these will soon no longer comply with rules of origins checks – a direct consequence of Brexit.

Elsewhere in the world, as this publication goes to press, China and the US continue to take aim at one another in the much-hyped trade war that we’ve been reporting on for many months. As the gloves come off, there’s much talk about the potential dangers to the world’s exporting economies – including the US.

In this issue of the magazine, dedicated to export finance, we speak to banks, export credit agencies and exporters to find out how the recent economic turmoil is affecting their industries.

In our Americas section we take a look at long-term financing alternatives for US exporters, in light of US Exim still not being authorised to do any kind of substantial funding. As one banker told us at our annual export finance roundtable, it’s probably a good thing that the ECA is not fully up and running, as it would likely feel the effect of a trade war rather acutely.

Also in our export finance roundtable write-up, another banking head tells us that a consequence of the trade war – which he believes has been simmering covertly for the past few years – has been the flexibility and product development in the export credit market that we see today.

And so, while we understand that there is the belief that, ahead of the US midterm elections in November, there may be some modest concessions between trading partners in Trump’s war, there’s no denying that the situation is propelling the trade and export finance industry into a period of tremendous change.

In this issue: