The government has pledged to continue its drive for inward investment despite a dip in inflows to the UK recorded in annual data from the UN.
Foreign direct investment into Britain fell 19 per cent last year to $37bn despite a 9 per cent rise in global flows to $1.45tn, according to the World Investment Report from the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad).
However, the UK remained second only to the US for the cumulative stock of inward investment, up 8 per cent at $1.6tn.
The coalition has made much of Britain being “open for business”. George Osborne, the chancellor, has sought to attract investment through cuts in corporation tax, due to fall to 20 per cent by 2015, compared with 28 per cent in 2010, and measures such as the “patent box”, a lower tax rate on some intellectual property.
Last week, ￡14bn of trade and investment deals were signed between UK and Chinese companies as the Chinese premier Li Keqiang met David Cameron, prime minister, during a visit to the UK.
They included China Minsheng Investment Corporation, China’s largest private sector investment group, planning to open its European HQ in London with an investment of about ￡1.5bn, and China Merchants Securities opening its first London office, creating 40 jobs.
Unctad officials said the drop in inflows to the UK, which saw it slip from ninth to 11th place, was largely caused by UK affiliates of overseas companies lending money to their parents, possibly as part of tax optimisation schemes.
UK Trade and Investment, the trade promotion body, regards FDI stock as a better measure because it includes investments in the UK funded through the City of London capital markets. Multinational companies were reinvesting cash reserves held in the City, it said.
UKTI said: “The UK continues to attract high-quality investment from around the globe both from our established economic partners in Europe, North America and Japan but also from key growing markets such as India and China, creating and safeguarding thousands of UK jobs.
“Attracting foreign investment is an important part of the government’s long-term economic plan and UKTI will continue to work with companies to help sustain a globally attractive, highly competitive and truly international economy.”
Unctad forecasts a rise in global FDI flows to $1.85tn in 2016. “Whether the UK is connected to that is another question and maybe depends on political factors like the Scotland vote and any eventual EU referendum,” said Joseph Clements, an Unctad official.
A survey published this month by EY, the professional services firm, found the UK had extended its lead as Europe’s top destination in terms of the number of inward investment projects.
根据联合国贸易和发展会议(UNCTAD)发布的《世界投资报告》(World Investment Report)，海外对英国的直接投资去年下降19%，至370亿美元，尽管全球的外国直接投资(FDI)增长9%，至1.45万亿美元。
这些协议包括，中国最大的民营投资集团——中国民生投资公司(China Minsheng Investment Corporation)计划在伦敦开设一家欧洲总部，准备投资大约15亿英镑，同时中国招商证券(China Merchants Securities)将开设首个伦敦办事处，创造40个就业岗位。