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In this page: FDI in Figures | Why You Should Choose to Invest in the United Kingdom | Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment | Investment Opportunities


FDI in Figures

According to the 2013 World Investment Report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Kingdom is the sixth largest recipient of direct foreign investment (FDI) in the world. FDI flux, which had markedly decreased since the international financial crisis of 2009, again resumed an upward trend in 2012 and we should see a further strenghtening of this trend in the coming year.

The UK nevertheless has real strengths: London remains the financial capital of Europe, Great Britain has a strong currency and remains of the most important European markets.


Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors

  United Kingdom OECD United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 10.0 6.0 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 7.0 5.0 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 7.0 9.0 5.0
Index of Investor Protection**** 8.0 6.1 8.3 5.0

Source: Doing Business - Last Available Data.

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action. **** The Greater the Index, the Higher the Level of Investor Protection.

Foreign Direct Investment 201120122013
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 51,13745,79637,101
FDI Stock (million USD) 1,184,5671,482,8801,605,522
Performance Index*, Ranking on 181 Economies 29--
Potential Index**, Ranking on 177 Economies 16--
Number of Greenfield Investments*** 1,003921911
FDI Inwards (in % of GFCF****) 14.512.910.2
FDI Stock (in % of GDP)

Source: UNCTAD - Last Available Data.

Note: * The UNCTAD Inward FDI Performance Index is Based on a Ratio of the Country's Share in Global FDI Inflows and its Share in Global GDP. ** The UNCTAD Inward FDI Potential Index is Based on 12 Economic and Structural Variables Such as GDP, Foreign Trade, FDI, Infrastructures, Energy Use, R&D, Education, Country Risk. *** Green Field Investments Are a Form of Foreign Direct Investment Where a Parent Company Starts a New Venture in a Foreign Country By Constructing New Operational Facilities From the Ground Up. **** Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) Measures the Value of Additions to Fixed Assets Purchased By Business, Government and Households Less Disposals of Fixed Assets Sold Off or Scrapped.

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Why You Should Choose to Invest in the United Kingdom

Strong Points
One of the United Kingdom's main strong points is the speed of formalities: only thirteen days are required to set up a company in the United Kingdom, compared to the European average of 32 days, which puts the country in first place in Europe and sixth place in the world. Low taxation makes the environment investor-friendly. London is the world's leader in terms of financial services centers, on a number of key performance indicators and was once again voted best European city by the European Cities Monitor, which studies the appeal of cities .
Weak Points
The country's main weak points are: the financial sector's excessive influence on the GDP, poor quality infrastructures and a high level of competitiveness from foreign companies in the industrial sector.
Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
Once foreign companies are established in the UK, they are treated exactly like British firms. Within the EU, the British Government is a strong defender of any British registered company's rights, irrespective of its nationality or the nationality of its owner.
Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed By the United Kingdom
The UK has concluded 106 Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) with other countries, of which 94 are in force. More information is available on the website of UNCTAD.

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Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
With a few exceptions, the UK does not discriminate between nationals and foreign individuals in the formation and operation of private companies. The UK was the world's fifth largest recipient of foreign direct investment in 2010 (UNCTAD). Foreign companies establishing British subsidiaries generally encounter no special nationality requirements on directors or shareholders, although at least one director of any company registered in the UK must be ordinarily resident in the UK.
Acquisition of Holdings
In the United Kingdom, a majority holding interest in the capital of a local company is legal.
Competent Organization For the Declaration
Companies house

Learn more about Foreign Investment in the United Kingdom on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Investment Opportunities

Investment Aid Agency
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Government Procurement Service, Government Procurement Service
Tenders Info, Tenders in United Kingdom
Ted - Tenders Electronic daily, Business opportunities in EU 27
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide

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Learn more about Investing in the United Kingdom on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Last Updates: February 2015