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Inward Investment: UK and other European Countries

Volume 684: debated on Thursday 19 November 2020

What comparative assessment she has made of the level of inward investment into (a) the UK and (b) other European countries. (908987)

Latest Office for National Statistics figures show that the UK’s inward foreign direct investment stock reached £1.5 trillion in 2018—a new record. According to the United Nations conference on trade and development, the UK held the highest FDI stock in Europe in 2019. The Financial Times FDI report highlights that last year the UK had more greenfield FDI projects than any other country in Europe at 1,271; by comparison, Germany had 702 and Spain 658. We are looking to go even further to improve our high value investment offer, which is why the Prime Minister launched the Office for Investment just last week.

I congratulate the Minister on the impressive inward investment results so far. What is he doing to boost investment and broader trading relationships between the UK and the Asia-Pacific region and, in particular, those with Pakistan, which is of interest to a number of businesses in my constituency?

There can be no greater or more persistent champion of UK-Pakistan relations than my hon. Friend. The Government remain committed to increasing trade and investment with the Asia-Pacific region. We have signed a free trade agreement with Japan, are negotiating FTAs with Australia and New Zealand, and hope to be able to apply for formal accession to the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership, as already discussed. At the end of the transition period, the UK will put in place its own generalised scheme of preferences, and my hon. Friend will be delighted to learn that Pakistan will continue to receive the same market access to the UK next year. The scheme will help British and Pakistani businesses to continue trading seamlessly after we end the transition period.