UK front of the queue for US foreign direct investment

Jake Cordell
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Barack Obama said the US would not open trade negotiations with the UK if it voted for Brexit
Barack Obama said the US would not open trade negotiations with the UK if it voted for Brexit (Source: Getty)

British investment into the United States underpins more than one million jobs on the other side of the Atlantic, research has shown, highlighting the importance of the economic special relationship.

Business group the CBI said the UK has retained its position as the single largest investor into the US, accounting for $449bn (£346bn) - or 15 per cent - of foreign direct investment. That figure put the UK comfortably ahead of the next biggest spender, Japan, on $373bn and well ahead of rising powers India and China, which accounted for just $17bn between them in 2014.

The CBI said the figures show "strengthening the economic relationship between the US and the UK should be a top priority" now the UK is on course to breakaway from the EU.

CBI president Paul Dreschler - which advocated a vote to Remain - said: "In the context of global political and economic uncertainties, and in the aftermath of the UK's referendum on EU membership, it is critically important this relationship continues to be fostered for the prosperity of all."

Country Investment into US
UK $449bn
Japan $373bn
Netherlands $305bn
Canada $261bn
Luxembourg $243bn

He also called for the UK to find a way to bind itself to the EU-US trade deal, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), as it could deliver up to £10bn of economic benefits to the UK.

"We need to do everything we can to make it easier to trade, invest and drive prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic," Dreschler added.

During the referendum campaign, President Barack Obama caused consternation among Leave campaigners when he argued the UK would be "at the back of the queue" for trade negotiations. The US is the UK's single biggest export market, taking £47.5bn worth of goods and services in 2015, up 27 per cent compared to the year before.

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