Europe

UK secures $13.4B in foreign direct investment: Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomes nearly 200 business leaders to Global Investment Summit in London

Karim El-Bar   | 19.10.2021
UK secures $13.4B in foreign direct investment: Johnson

LONDON

The United Kingdom has secured £9.7 billion ($13.4 billion) in foreign investments, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday, as he opened the Global Investment Summit in London.

Johnson welcomed almost 200 business leaders to the summit, which is being held at the Science Museum. The investments will create at least 30,000 jobs in Britain.

Speaking ahead of the summit, Johnson said: “The world's top investors have seen the massive potential in the UK for growth and innovation in the industries of the future.

“The fantastic £9.7bn of new investment we have secured today will power our economic recovery, creating thousands of jobs and helping to level up across the country.

“This is just the start. We will see new partnerships for green growth forged at today's Global Investment Summit, as we look ahead to COP26 and beyond.”

The summit comes two weeks before COP26 in Glasgow, and the British government wants to use the Global Investment Summit to highlight green investment opportunities in Britain, as well as enhance the private sector’s role in reducing carbon emissions.

Bill Gates attended the summit, and took part in a panel discussion with Johnson about the global transition from fossil fuels to renewables, and the role of business in tackling the climate crisis. On Monday, Gates also attended a dinner in 10 Downing Street alongside Johnson, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, and over a dozen other business leaders.

The £9.7 billion investment is comprised of 18 deals covering everything from wind and hydrogen power to carbon capture. £6 billion ($8.3 billion) alone is a Spanish energy company’s investment in offshore wind in Britain.

The summit is being backed by the Queen, and both the Royal Family and herself hosted a reception at Windsor on Tuesday for delegates to the summit.

China

Johnson also spoke to Bloomberg ahead of the summit about Chinese investment in the British economy, considering recent strains on the Sino-British relationship due to repression in Hong Kong and against the Uyghurs.

"I'm not going to tell you the UK government is going to pitchfork away every overture from China," he told Bloomberg.

"China is a gigantic part of our economic life and will be for a long time - for our lifetime. But that does not mean that we should be naive in the way we look at our critical natural infrastructure - you mention nuclear power, you mention 5G technology - those are all legitimate concerns for any government.

"We should be cautious about how we handle our CNI (Critical National Infrastructure) and about how we handle FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) from China... That is why we have brought in some of the legislation that we have."

"I am no Sino-phobe, very far from it. China is a great country, a great civilisation," he added.

"In spite of all the difficulties, in spite of all the difficult conversations about the Dalai Lama or Hong Kong or the Uighurs - where we will continue to stick to our views - trade with China has continued to expand for a very long time."

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