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New CNBC research finds seismic shift in business leaders’ attitudes towards FDI opportunities in the UK

CNBC, the world's number one business and financial news network, today published its annual Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Report, providing key insights into how the C-Suite perceives FDI opportunities.

The report, carried out in partnership with the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA), identifies a seismic shift in attitudes amongst C-Suite towards FDI opportunities, largely caused by geopolitical events. It finds:

  • The gap between Germany and the UK's perceived growth potential has widened tenfold (from 5% to 55%), highlighting Brexit's impact on confidence in the UK economy
  • For Europe, Germany was selected by 63% more business leaders than the UK when asked which countries they consider to have most potential for growth in the next 12-18 months
  • North America's investment potential has diminished since the election of President Trump, falling from the second most desirable region for FDI amongst the C-suite to sixth
  • President Trump's plan to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Change agreement has resulted in US investors expecting to see a resurgence in Oil and Gas investment

The report also finds that Asia is seen as the area most likely to grow – a sentiment that is shared by business leaders globally:

  • The 'league table' of regions with most potential for growth are South East Asia (41%), East Asia (32%), and South Asia (24%)
  • As expected, China stands out in terms of growth potential – 46% of respondents selected it as the country they think most likely to grow

Business leaders also think Technology will be the number one growth sector in 2018. In previous reports, Healthcare and Pharma have been traditionally considered as the fastest growing sectors - especially in North America because of its private healthcare model.

David Evans, Head of Data and Insight at CNBC's in-house agency Catalyst said: "This year's report highlights the impact recent geopolitical events, such as Brexit, have had on business leaders' attitudes towards FDI opportunities. It's interesting that smaller progressive economies such as Switzerland, Sweden and Norway are gaining ground on the big traditional markets of Italy and Spain."

Bostjan Skalar, CEO of WAIPA, said: "WAIPA is a promotion agency and our members take our lead in FDI promotion and location branding. As such we feel our partnership with CNBC will only add value and depth to that ability of our members given CNBC is the leader in global finance news and analysis."

The full report can be found here.

The report is based on 910 interviews with investors spanning five key markets – the US, Germany, UK, Singapore and Hong Kong – across three global regions. All respondents have business decision making responsibilities and an interest in FDI.


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The World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) was created in 1995. It was established as an Association under Swiss law. It has been registered in Geneva, as a non-governmental organization and is in the process of being filed with other relevant authorities. From its very inception, WAIPA has represented an ever growing number of Member agencies. Currently WAIPA had 170 Members from 130 countries. Through its wide range of activities, WAIPA provides the opportunity for investment promotion agencies (IPAs) to network and exchange best practices in investment promotion. WAIPA has always dedicated, and continues to dedicate, time and effort towards building the human resources capacity of its Member agencies. Training events have been organized by WAIPA, alone or in coordination with partner organizations. Membership is open to all entities the primary function of which is "to promote any country, political sub-division of a country or other uncontested territory, as a destination for, or source of, investments".