Why is the Turkish company HDM Steel setting up a £7m manufacturing plant in South Wales?
Take a look at the world. Think about countries where you might possibly imagine investing your money. Do they have a solid record on stability and democracy? Do they rank highly on ease of doing business, with a predictable and transparent regulatory environment? Are the courts renowned for their fairness and efficiency? Do they have a world-class education system, a competitive tax regime and a gigantic and easily accessible market? Are they cosmopolitan and globally-minded? Do they speak a language you understand?
Look at it in the round, it’s no surprise that the United Kingdom is the leading destination in Europe for foreign direct investment (FDI).
The stock of FDI in the UK in 2011 was $1.2 trillion – the highest in Europe. An open and internationally-focused economy, the UK is a major market in its own right with over 60m tech-savvy early-adopting consumers. Corporation tax is 23% and will fall to 21% by 2014 – the lowest in the G7 and fourth-lowest in the G20.
The UK has four of the world’s top 10 universities. London is a city without parallel anywhere in the world both as a global storehouse of top talent and expertise and as a place to live (I know – I’ve lived there).
I won’t go on about the 40% of euro-denominated foreign exchange trading worldwide which takes place in the City of London, or the 62% of euro-denominated over-the-counter interest rate swaps – you get the picture. London is the world’s leading financial centre and a great place to raise investment funds.
So it’s actually no surprise at all that so many companies from Turkey and around the world are choosing to site factories, headquarters or research facilities in the UK. They’re welcome to come to the UK and make money. If you’re not investing in the UK yet – better get started. Your competitors may be there already.