UKTI reports annual rise in foreign investment into region

Figures released by UK Trade & Investment, the Government's inward investment body, show the North West attracted 155 projects during 2007/08, an increase of 18 projects on the previous year.

These 156 projects created or safeguarded 14,647 jobs, nearly double the 7,520 jobs in 2006/07.

The North West Development Agency said the figures proved the efficacy of its sub-regional partners charged with attracting firms from overseas, including The Mersey Partnership, MIDAS, Lancashire Economic Partnership, Cheshire & Warrington Economic Alliance and Cumbria Vision.

Steven Broomhead, chief executive of the NWDA, said: "These figures are a real lift from recent stories surrounding the slowdown of the global economy and the financial credit crunch. Foreign Direct Investment has been a fierce competition for some years now and we should take a great deal of encouragement in our regions' achievements in the past year.

"The NWDA works hard with our partners across the North West, our offices overseas and the UKTI, to develop the international competitiveness of the region and prioritise overseas investment as an important element to our economic growth.

"This current year will see the toughest economic climate the UK has faced since the regional development agencies were established nine years ago, and we should be prepared for a drop in the UK's FDI performance next year, but I am confident that our diverse economy, particularly here in the North West, can ride-out this storm in the longer term."

A new study by DTZ due to be launched later this month will claim that 17% of regional gross value added (GVA) is accounted for by foreign owned companies operating in the North West and that economic output per worker is almost 50% higher in foreign owned companies compared to the regional average.

The US remains the key source of FDI into the region in terms of jobs and financial impact, followed by Germany, France and the Netherlands.

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