News article

Coronavirus: Guidance for UK businesses trading internationally

1 April 2020


DIT support for UK businesses trading internationally

This advice is for UK businesses that export or deliver goods and services abroad and have been impacted by the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Department for International Trade (DIT) can support businesses by:

  • providing assistance with customs authorities to ensure smooth clearance of their products
  • offering advice on intellectual property and other issues with business continuity

Businesses that may face disruption due to the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) can visit the dedicated business support website for more information.

Supply chains affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)

If your supply chain has been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), DIT can help you to find alternative suppliers. The department has relationships with a global network of businesses across the world and will be able to advise you on the options available.

If you have an advisory or professional services firm that can help UK companies to find alternative suppliers, visit the dedicated business support website for more information.

International support for businesses involved in overseas projects

If you are operating projects in other countries, follow local guidance and speak to your nearest UK embassy or consulate. Alternatively, you can read the general advice on Overseas Business Risk in the relevant country.

Financial support for businesses trading internationally

Your business may be able to get support to lessen the cost or financial effects of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Read more about the available support for businesses and employees in Northern Ireland.

Financial support for exporters

UK Export Finance (UKEF) works with banks and insurance brokers to 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.

You can get help from UKEF:

  • if your business is facing disruption due to late payments, UKEF can help ease cash flow constraints by guaranteeing bank loans through its Export Working Capital Scheme
  • if you are concerned about getting paid, UKEF offers an export insurance policy that can help you recover the costs of fulfilling an order that is terminated by events outside your control
  • UKEF can also support finance for overseas buyers through the Direct Lending Facility scheme, so they can continue to buy your goods and services
  • UKEF has over ¬£4 billion of capacity to support UK firms exporting to China, as well as significant capacity across other markets affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) to help cover these risks.

To find out if UKEF covers your region, email customer.service@ukexportfinance.gov.uk.

International business travel

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office offers the latest advice about travelling abroad, including the latest information on coronavirus (COVID-19), safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings.


First published 1 April 2020