Transatlantic ties still strong

2005

Despite the emergence of economies such as India and China, two-thirds of respondents to a new survey say the business relationship between the UK and US has grown stronger in the last five years.

The Transatlantic Business Survey found that the strength of the two economies and their skilled workforces are the main factors in driving investment and trade across the Atlantic.

The strengthening of the relationship is reflected in figures published in UK Trade & Investment's annual investment report 2004/5, which showed that inward investment projects from the US to the UK totalled 464, 48 per cent up on 2003 creating 17,730 new jobs.

The survey of 140 senior executives was carried out by UK Trade & Investment and transatlantic business development organisation, BritishAmerican Business Inc.

However it also highlighted that competition from developing economies such as India and China and the burden of increasing regulation are seen as the two biggest threats to transatlantic business over the next three years.

Both sets of respondents in the survey identified availability of skilled staff, good transport links, and common language as the three most important factors in making the US and UK good business locations for each other.

But differences also emerged. Almost nine out of 10 rated workforce skills levels in the UK as either good or very good, compared to three-quarters saying the same about the US – a surprising finding given the frequent complaints heard from British business about skill levels. The UK was also rated as an easier place to recruit skilled staff than the US.

The UK also appears to be regarded as a more interesting place to live than the US, although the latter is seen as having better weather and transport systems.

And the UK also fared well in terms of growth. A quarter of UK-based respondents have seen rapid growth in their organisations compared to one in five of those based in the US.

Most intriguing was the US perception of the ease of doing business in the UK. Three-quarters of US respondents to the survey agreed that the UK has a compatible business environment with fewer regulations and restrictions than other EU countries, but the same sentiment was shared by only half of UK natives.

Peter Hunt, Managing Director, BritishAmerican Business Inc, commented: "We think the results from this survey continue to underline the overwhelming importance of the unique trading partnership between Britain and the United States."

The result of the survey will be discussed at a conference on Thursday 27th October at the Tower of London exploring how the underlying trends impact on UK/US/EU relations and discover what the future holds for the world's largest economic partnership.

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