HomeInsightsGovernment publishes guidance for UK businesses trading internationally


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The advice, published by the Department for International Trade, is for UK businesses that export or deliver goods and services abroad and have been impacted by the spread of coronavirus. It includes DIT support for UK businesses trading internationally, and financial support for businesses trading internationally.

DIT can support businesses by providing assistance with customs authorities to ensure smooth clearance of their products and offering advice on intellectual property and other issues with business continuity. There is a dedicated business support website which provides more information.

If a supply chain has been affected by coronavirus, DIT says that it can help find alternative suppliers. The department has relationships with a global network of businesses across the world and will be able to advise on the options available.

For businesses operating projects in other countries, the DIT advises following local guidance and speaking to the nearest UK embassy or consulate.

Following the Chancellor’s various announcements in the past few days on supporting the economy, the guidance explains that businesses may be able to get support to lessen the cost or financial effects of coronavirus through:

  • the business interruption loan scheme from the British Business Bank as part of the Enable Finance Guarantee;
  • changes to Statutory Sick Pay;
  • the UK-wide Time to Pay, which is a scheme for tax payment relief for businesses and self-employed people;
  • an increase in the Business Rates Retail Discount in England to 100% for a year, now expanded to the leisure and hospitality sectors;
  • cash support to all business in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) and funding for Local Authorities in England to support businesses that pay little or no business rates because of SBRR or Rural Rates Relief;
  • the temporary lowering of the Minimum Income Floor (MIF) for Universal Credit for those who have COVID-19 or are self-isolating following government advice;
  • cash grants of up to £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000; and
  • grants offered through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

As for exporters, the Government says that UK Export Finance (UKEF), which works with banks and insurance brokers, can help companies of all sizes fulfil and get paid for export contracts. It provides guarantees, loans and insurance on behalf of the Government that can protect UK exporters facing delayed payments or transit restrictions. To access the guidance, click here.