More than half of large US companies operating in the UK plan to increase investment over the next few years despite concerns over the lack of a trade deal between the countries and Britain’s departure from the UK. EU.
A survey of 68 large-cap US companies employing over 275,000 people in the UK found “very high” confidence in the country as the place to do business. About a third rated trust at the highest levels, while around 60 percent said they would increase investment in the UK.
The survey, which was carried out by the US-UK trade association BritishAmerican Business and consultancy firm Bain, looked at companies in industries such as financial services and manufacturing to technology, media and telecommunications. Respondents included companies such as insurance group Marsh McLennan and payment company American Express.
“The combination of a strong, multilingual talent base, a favorable business environment and geographic and time zone advantages continue to make the UK an ideal starting point for our operations outside the US” said Anna Marrs, group president at American Express. .
Dan Glaser, President and CEO of Marsh McLennan was equally optimistic. âThe UK is a large and vibrant economy with exceptional regulatory and education systems,â he said. “The best talent from all over the world wants to work and live in Britain.”
But the investigation also found that there were concerns about Brexit and US trade relations between US companies with large operations in the UK.
The main concerns over Brexit were the risk of political tensions as well as practical issues such as supply chain issues and the possibility of accessing EU talent. Regulatory barriers, loss of ability to provide certain services in the EU and tariffs have also been reported.
About 17 percent of US companies surveyed said they had relocated jobs to the EU.
U.S. companies that responded to the survey, which is set to become an annual measure of U.S. investment intentions in the UK, have warned that these Brexit concerns could overshadow their prospects for the future.
Almost 40 percent of businesses said the top priority should be to improve political and economic relations with the EU to keep the UK as a top destination for US investment.
âThe UK is uniquely positioned to continue to attract businesses from the US and around the world,â said Duncan Edwards, Managing Director of BritishAmerican Business.
“But these positive prospects will be reinforced by a comprehensive trade deal with the United States, a more positive political and trade relationship with the EU, and more business-friendly domestic policies.”
The other high priority for US businesses was for Washington and London to finalize negotiations for a trade deal, according to the survey. Liz Truss, secretary of international trade, will travel to the United States this week to meet with officials, according to people familiar with the matter.
Other recommendations for the UK government included greater clarity around its industrial strategy and maintaining a favorable tax environment for businesses.
Jonathan Frick, a partner at Bain in London, said U.S. investors have retained the majority of their workforce since the UK left the EU. âIn particular, financial services companies believe the city will remain a hub for the business community with a large and diverse talent pool,â he said.