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Global Greenfield Foreign Investment in the UK

UK has the lowest trade intensity in the G7

We reproduce this article unchanged from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). It presents statistics which show how well the UK performs in attracting greenfield international investment (known as foreign direct investment or FDI). Greenfield investment is physical investment as opposed to mergers or acquisitions. This gives the lie to those who claim that the UK has lost economic attractiveness since the Brexit referendum.

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The UK (£720 billion) has attracted the third highest amount of Greenfield FDI over the last 20 years, behind only China (£1,302 billion) and the United States (£1,095 billion).

In 2021 and 2022, the UK overtook China to become the second highest destination country for FDI behind the United States.

Over the last 20 years the UK (£720 billion) has attracted more Greenfield FDI than Germany (£305 billion) and France (£205 billion) combined. Germany is the ninth highest country ranked by Greenfield FDI capital expenditure. France is 17th based on the same measure.

Figure 1: Greenfield FDI capital expenditure 2003-22 in selected countries

Table 1: Global Greenfield capital expenditure FDI 2003-22 in selected countries (£ billions)

Country 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2003-22
China £97 £95 £62 £92 £75 £90 £83 £76 £86 £61 £67 £64 £46 £50 £42 £88 £58 £29 £26 £15 £1,302
France £3 £5 £8 £13 £15 £18 £10 £6 £7 £7 £8 £6 £7 £11 £11 £15 £15 £12 £11 £17 £205
Germany £13 £7 £10 £11 £11 £20 £13 £12 £13 £9 £9 £7 £12 £11 £15 £18 £22 £20 £47 £27 £305
India £12 £21 £17 £45 £31 £49 £38 £30 £35 £23 £18 £21 £45 £45 £20 £42 £28 £17 £13 £60 £609
United Kingdom £16 £17 £16 £23 £21 £79 £50 £22 £29 £55 £32 £35 £45 £31 £26 £31 £30 £34 £49 £79 £720
United States £23 £24 £28 £32 £35 £45 £60 £47 £59 £51 £61 £53 £61 £49 £68 £68 £76 £53 £73 £129 £1,095

In the UK 1.5 million Greenfield FDI jobs have been created between 2003 and 2022. This gives the UK a global rank of eighth on this measure. The leading country on this measure is China (5.6 million jobs) followed by India (4.7 million jobs) and United States (2.9 million jobs).

The UK has attracted more FDI jobs than Germany (751,000 jobs), ranked 14th in the world, and France (578,000 jobs), ranked 19th in the world combined.

In 2022 the UK attracted 107,000 FDI jobs the highest on record for the United Kingdom in any calendar year. In 2022 the UK was fourth on FDI jobs behind India (519,000), the United States (223,000) and Mexico (186,000) and ahead of China (62,000), Germany (50,000) and France (47,000)

Figure 2: Greenfield FDI jobs in selected countries

Table 2: Global Greenfield FDI jobs 2003-22 in selected countries (thousands)

Country 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2003-22
China 418 415 336 429 340 449 355 346 344 262 307 270 198 183 164 267 184 101 146 62 5,575
France 7 13 25 35 38 44 28 20 20 21 23 16 23 30 40 42 40 30 35 47 578
Germany 25 19 17 23 27 57 35 35 39 24 29 25 41 42 45 49 57 48 62 50 751
India 136 179 167 345 217 308 187 227 270 184 143 194 266 287 194 328 278 146 136 519 4,711
United Kingdom 43 52 41 64 55 89 95 71 72 67 69 83 87 74 69 81 80 58 96 107 1,451
United States 77 82 86 93 107 109 131 157 150 147 184 188 172 157 193 185 180 139 165 223 2,925

The UK has led the world in attracting renewable sector FDI based on both capital expenditure and job creation (although the renewable sector does create relatively few jobs). Foreign investors in the renewables sector have invested more in the UK than the US, Germany, France, India and China combined.

Figure 3: Renewables FDI capital expenditure, selected countries (£ billions)

Table 3: Renewables FDI capital expenditure for selected countries (£ billions)

Country 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2003-22
China £0.5 £0.1 £0.1 £0.1 £1.1 £1.4 £0.9 £0.8 £0.3 £0.2 £0.9 £0.5 £0.9 £0.5 £0.2 £0.5 £0.4 £1.3 £0.1 £0.3 £11.1
France £0.1 £0.0 £0.6 £0.4 £0.9 £3.4 £0.8 £0.5 £0.2 £0.6 £0.3 £0.3 £0.3 £0.1 £0.4 £0.7 £1.0 £3.1 £0.8 £0.6 £15.1
Germany £0.0 £0.5 £0.3 £3.0 £0.5 £3.6 £1.9 £2.2 £4.4 £0.5 £0.5 £0.1 £1.9 £1.0 £1.8 £2.7 £1.0 £0.7 £4.6 £10.1 £41.3
India £0.1 £0.0 £0.1 £1.2 £0.7 £0.7 £2.1 £0.7 £2.7 £0.6 £0.0 £0.6 £9.5 £4.1 £0.9 £1.8 £1.3 £0.4 £0.6 £4.8 £32.9
United Kingdom £0.3 £0.3 £0.7 £2.0 £2.6 £11.9 £11.4 £2.7 £8.0 £4.6 £13.5 £10.8 £12.2 £12.4 £6.0 £5.6 £11.3 £21.6 £19.3 £55.1 £212.3
United States £0.1 £0.0 £0.3 £1.1 £2.2 £5.3 £8.7 £6.8 £6.3 £3.6 £3.0 £2.4 £2.1 £5.4 £2.4 £7.3 £14.7 £8.2 £9.1 £6.7 £95.9
Figure 4: Renewables FDI jobs, selected countries

Table 4: Renewables FDI jobs for selected countries

Country 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2003-22
China 34 14 24 56 1,090 558 193 769 178 176 601 426 530 132 120 198 670 410 308 551 7,038
France 41 6 357 248 578 1,652 580 257 132 326 164 282 185 79 283 580 719 806 525 535 8,335
Germany 0 71 218 451 121 878 544 662 1,319 131 118 113 264 126 576 493 258 268 989 3,195 10,795
India 117 0 22 726 213 644 2,209 111 536 137 30 402 1,867 696 217 684 3,275 50 81 3,471 15,488
United Kingdom 69 135 521 535 785 3,068 2,567 888 1,408 739 1,560 1,464 2,100 1,387 750 921 2,081 3,543 3,382 11,560 39,463
United States 29 0 96 860 786 1,905 2,450 2,462 2,617 1,756 815 998 442 1,516 717 2,109 3,406 2,225 2,209 2,711 30,109

China has attracted the most financial services (FS) capital expenditure and is second on FS jobs after India. The UK ranks fourth on both financial services FDI capital expenditure and FDI jobs.

Figure 5: Financial services FDI capital expenditure, selected countries (£ billions)

Table 5: Financial services FDI capital expenditure, selected countries (£ billions)

Country 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2003-22
China £4.3 £5.0 £6.1 £8.0 £7.9 £9.0 £5.4 £7.3 £8.3 £5.3 £2.9 £2.6 £2.7 £2.5 £1.3 £1.9 £1.6 £3.7 £0.8 £0.8 £87.5
France £0.2 £0.3 £0.3 £0.5 £0.8 £0.7 £0.4 £0.3 £0.3 £0.3 £0.2 £0.1 £0.1 £0.1 £0.8 £0.3 £0.3 £0.3 £0.4 £0.5 £7.2
Germany £0.2 £0.1 £0.1 £0.2 £0.3 £0.3 £0.3 £0.3 £0.3 £0.2 £0.3 £0.1 £0.1 £0.2 £0.5 £0.4 £0.3 £0.2 £0.3 £0.3 £5.1
India £0.7 £1.0 £1.2 £2.1 £2.9 £2.9 £2.8 £1.3 £1.8 £2.3 £0.9 £2.2 £0.9 £1.1 £1.2 £1.4 £3.3 £1.3 £0.8 £1.2 £33.4
United Kingdom £0.8 £0.8 £1.0 £1.4 £1.3 £2.1 £2.3 £1.8 £1.9 £1.3 £0.6 £0.8 £0.7 £0.6 £0.7 £0.9 £0.7 £0.2 £0.6 £1.0 £21.5
United States £0.2 £0.3 £0.7 £0.5 £0.7 £0.7 £1.0 £0.7 £1.3 £0.8 £0.8 £1.1 £0.7 £0.6 £0.9 £0.7 £0.8 £0.7 £0.6 £0.6 £14.3
Figure 6: Financial services FDI jobs (thousands), selected countries

Table 6: Financial services FDI jobs, selected countries (thousands)

Country 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2003-22
China 14.7 16.4 13.5 20.4 18.5 27.5 11.5 11.2 13.7 12.3 7.1 7.9 6.9 5.2 2.9 3.7 4.1 6.6 2.0 2.2 208.4
France 0.2 0.3 0.4 1.6 0.8 1.9 0.6 0.5 0.9 1.2 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.4 2.3 0.7 0.8 0.8 1.3 1.5 17.3
Germany 0.3 0.3 0.1 0.3 0.8 0.6 0.9 0.7 0.4 0.4 0.8 0.3 0.3 0.5 1.3 0.9 0.9 0.7 0.9 0.7 12.4
India 8.4 6.3 10.7 14.1 17.3 16.6 13.1 7.3 8.9 15.6 8.7 23.3 11.9 9.7 10.4 11.3 14.6 13.2 5.8 7.9 235.1
United Kingdom 4.7 2.7 2.8 4.3 4.1 3.8 7.5 4.5 8.0 5.7 3.1 3.8 3.3 3.3 2.7 3.7 3.1 1.1 3.2 4.7 79.9
United States 1.8 1.9 5.6 2.9 3.6 4.2 6.2 5.2 7.6 5.1 6.3 6.8 7.1 5.7 7.0 5.8 6.1 5.1 4.0 5.5 103.4

China has attracted more FDI capital expenditure and FDI jobs than any other country over the last 20 years. The UK is ranked ninth on Automotive FDI capital expenditure and 14th on jobs.

Figure 7: Automotive FDI capital expenditure, selected countries (£ billions)

Table 7: Automotive FDI capital expenditure, selected countries (£ billions)

Country 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2003-22
China £15.0 £11.5 £8.2 £9.3 £5.4 £12.5 £11.6 £12.8 £10.4 £10.0 £6.8 £15.0 £4.8 £5.0 £5.2 £18.5 £7.8 £6.8 £1.8 £1.5 £179.5
France £0.3 £0.5 £0.4 £0.2 £0.7 £0.3 £0.2 £0.2 £0.4 £0.1 £0.3 £0.2 £0.2 £0.3 £0.4 £1.1 £0.4 £0.2 £0.3 £0.4 £7.1
Germany £0.4 £0.9 £0.6 £0.5 £0.3 £1.3 £0.3 £0.8 £0.9 £0.3 £0.5 £0.5 £0.6 £0.5 £0.9 £0.6 £4.8 £0.6 £1.7 £1.8 £18.9
India £1.6 £1.6 £1.4 £5.8 £5.5 £5.2 £3.7 £4.4 £3.6 £3.3 £1.1 £2.5 £1.3 £2.1 £2.0 £5.8 £2.3 £0.7 £0.4 £0.4 £54.8
United Kingdom £0.6 £1.4 £0.8 £1.1 £0.4 £0.6 £1.1 £2.2 £1.5 £1.9 £1.2 £1.2 £2.1 £0.6 £1.2 £0.7 £0.6 £0.7 £1.1 £3.7 £24.6
United States £4.0 £3.6 £3.4 £2.4 £4.3 £2.7 £3.8 £3.7 £4.3 £6.6 £5.1 £5.3 £6.1 £4.4 £9.6 £5.0 £5.3 £2.0 £4.3 £7.3 £93.2
Figure 8: Automotive FDI jobs (thousands), selected countries

Table 8: Automotive FDI jobs (thousands), selected countries

Country 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2003-22
China 64.2 55.0 46.7 48.9 29.2 52.5 48.4 63.7 50.2 53.3 39.3 50.5 26.6 26.4 25.4 58.0 28.4 18.2 11.4 7.4 803.7
France 1.2 2.2 2.7 1.5 1.8 1.3 1.0 1.2 1.7 0.4 1.2 0.8 1.0 1.3 2.0 3.9 1.4 1.1 1.4 2.1 31.3
Germany 2.1 2.4 2.0 1.2 1.3 3.4 1.1 2.3 2.7 1.2 1.7 1.5 2.1 2.4 2.4 2.8 4.8 1.8 4.2 3.9 47.2
India 13.5 12.7 11.6 56.0 34.9 40.6 28.2 35.9 30.2 25.0 8.2 19.7 15.4 21.5 16.6 28.7 15.9 5.4 3.0 5.2 428.1
United Kingdom 2.3 4.3 2.7 4.3 2.0 2.8 3.5 6.8 6.0 6.9 4.9 5.6 8.9 2.9 3.7 1.9 2.3 2.5 3.9 7.3 85.3
United States 19.5 15.2 18.7 13.7 17.0 10.4 15.6 18.1 18.6 22.5 23.2 27.5 19.4 16.9 30.9 18.4 18.5 9.4 15.7 16.4 365.5

China has attracted the most transportation and warehousing FDI in the world measured by FDI capital expenditure and jobs over the last 20 years. The UK is ranked second on FDI capital expenditure and third on FDI jobs behind China and India. For the last 3 years, the UK has been the leading country in this sector on both FDI capital expenditure and jobs

Figure 9: Transportation and Warehousing FDI capital expenditure, selected countries (£ billions)

Table 9: Transportation and warehousing FDI capital expenditure, selected countries (£ billions)

Country 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2003-22
China £5.0 £7.2 £5.7 £6.2 £7.5 £6.8 £5.3 £3.6 £6.0 £3.7 £4.2 £3.3 £2.3 £2.5 £1.7 £2.4 £2.6 £1.2 £1.6 £1.7 £80.2
France £0.3 £0.3 £0.5 £0.7 £0.7 £0.8 £0.3 £0.2 £0.3 £0.3 £0.2 £0.4 £0.4 £0.8 £0.6 £0.7 £0.4 £0.5 £0.8 £2.3 £11.3
Germany £4.7 £0.8 £4.8 £1.5 £0.5 £0.9 £1.5 £0.6 £1.2 £0.7 £1.0 £0.9 £1.1 £1.0 £0.9 £1.2 £1.0 £1.1 £1.4 £2.0 £28.8
India £0.4 £0.9 £1.1 £2.4 £1.6 £3.4 £1.9 £1.2 £1.2 £2.5 £1.5 £2.9 £1.1 £1.1 £1.5 £0.9 £0.6 £0.7 £0.8 £2.1 £29.8
United Kingdom £1.2 £1.0 £0.8 £3.6 £0.8 £0.9 £1.6 £1.2 £2.0 £1.5 £2.2 £3.3 £1.8 £2.7 £1.6 £2.0 £1.1 £2.3 £2.7 £5.6 £39.9
United States £0.6 £1.8 £3.1 £0.4 £0.8 £0.7 £5.7 £1.9 £0.7 £0.8 £1.0 £1.2 £1.1 £1.0 £1.0 £1.3 £1.2 £1.4 £1.4 £1.7 £29.0
Figure 10: Transportation and warehousing FDI jobs (thousands), selected countries

Table 10: Transportation and warehousing FDI jobs (thousands), selected countries

Country 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2003-22
China 17.0 28.9 21.7 23.7 19.3 17.6 10.0 7.7 9.3 7.1 5.6 4.4 2.1 3.6 2.0 2.1 2.1 1.1 1.3 1.8 188.6
France 0.8 0.8 2.0 2.8 2.1 1.9 1.0 0.7 1.0 0.9 0.5 1.1 1.2 2.1 1.7 1.0 1.3 1.3 1.9 6.3 32.3
Germany 4.7 1.1 3.5 3.6 1.1 2.3 2.5 0.9 2.2 1.3 2.4 2.1 4.5 4.1 2.4 3.7 2.4 3.5 4.4 5.1 57.8
India 4.6 2.9 4.5 10.1 4.9 12.4 4.7 2.7 2.4 7.1 4.6 6.6 4.5 5.1 5.9 4.1 2.0 2.7 2.2 15.9 110.0
United Kingdom 3.3 3.3 2.5 7.8 2.2 1.9 5.1 3.2 4.7 4.4 6.0 7.4 5.9 7.9 5.0 5.5 3.3 6.8 6.5 16.7 109.2
United States 2.4 7.4 8.8 2.0 3.4 2.7 9.3 5.9 3.2 3.3 4.1 4.8 3.9 4.0 3.7 5.9 4.3 5.0 5.3 6.3 95.6
  1. The data in this publication was downloaded from the Financial Times fDi markets database on 15 November 2023. FDI markets includes Greenfield FDI – this definition includes both new inward investment and expansions. The data is converted from USD to GBP using the rate 1USD=£0.76. US inter-state projects are excluded from the analysis. 
  2. The automotive sector includes the 2 fDi markets sectors: automotive components and automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Gigafactories are classified in the electronic components sector by fDi markets and therefore excluded from automotive sector.

The original article is at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/overview-of-greenfield-foreign-direct-investment/overview-of-greenfield-foreign-direct-investment-fdi

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