NEW changes to the role of the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC) will assist SMEs to export or invest overseas, according to federal Trade Minister Simon Crean.
Once legislated, the change to EFIC’s role will allow it to provide financial support to a wider range of transactions for Australian SMEs, including those establishing global supply and distribution chains.
Crean says the changes reflect the increasingly sophisticated role Australian businesses play in the global economy and would help them respond to the global recession.
“Australian exporters face many challenges and find it difficult to access finance for expanding their operations internationally,” he says.
“Expanding EFIC’s powers to better support Australian exporters will give a boost to this growing and dynamic sector of Australia’s economy.”
EFIC chief executive Angus Armour says the news will benefit exporters given the squeeze on capital by banks and other commercial financial providers as they reassess their risk profiles.
“The 2009 EFIC Global Readiness index showed that access to finance continues to be the most significant barrier faced by Australian businesses going global. This expansion of EFIC’s ability to support Australian SMEs is a direct response to the globalisation of markets and the growing participation of Australian businesses in it.”
The broader ability to lend will allow EFIC to assist Australian SMEs to establish global supply and distribution chains and maximise opportunities.
The amendments will also simplify the legislation, streamlining access and reducing compliance costs for applicants.
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