The UK ‘s top trading partners include Germany, Netherlands and France, all of which are ranked in the top five and Belgium, Italy and Switzerland within the top ten. In 2017, 13.4% of the UK economy was made from European countries.
According to the Department for International Trade’s inward investment statistics for 2018/19, the UK’s leading European source markets are Germany, Netherlands and France.
These findings are also reflected in the Thames Valley, with the region’s Inward Investment Results Report highlighting Spain, Sweden and Italy as additional key markets for FDI in the region, where 38 out of a total of 105 new projects emanated from these six markets.
France is one of the UK’s main trading partners with approximately 5,000 firms investing across the channel in both directions, whilst supporting over half a million jobs. It’s commercial partnership is strong and is arguably the cornerstone of the European economy.
According to Department for International Trade (DIT) Foreign-Direct Investment (FDI) statistics for 2018/19, of all European countries, France produced the third highest number of FDI projects – 98 and created 4, 650 new jobs. The Thames Valley Inward Investment Report 2018/19 highlights that France produced 5 new projects and 74 new jobs in the region.
Right: Sarah Robert speaks, in both English and French, of her role in James Cowper Kreston’s International Tax team and what makes the region a destination of choice for French companies.
There are a number of French-owned companies that have been attracted to the Thames Valley as a prime region to set up their UK head offices.
Please see below two examples of French-owned companies choosing to locate their UK head offices in the heart of the Thames Valley – Reading.
Thales Group is a French multinational company that designs and builds electrical systems and provides services for the aerospace, defence, transportation and security markets. In 2018, Thales opened their state of the art facility in Green Park, Reading. The site brings 500 highly skilled jobs to the region, as well as acting as a major contributor to UK prosperity with annual revenues of £1.3bn.
Sanofi is a French multinational pharmaceutical company (the world’s fifth-largest by prescription sales) that engages in the research and development, manufacturing and marketing of pharmaceutical drugs and over-the-counter medication. In 2019, Sanofi opened their UK headquarters in Thames Valley Park, Reading. The new 70,000 sqft office facility marks a £37m investment into the region and will act as the new base for 42% of Sanofi’s UK employees.
Germany and the UK have long been economic trading partners, with a natural and long standing relationship. Germany accounts for 13% of total UK imports, higher than any other country in the world. Similarly, the UK ranks fourth in German exports with total trade between the two countries estimated to be £134.9m (2017).
According to Department for International Trade (DIT) Foreign-Direct Investment (FDI) statistics for 2018/19, of all European countries, Germany produced the highest number of FDI projects – 109, as well as creating 7,741 new jobs and safeguarding 465 jobs. The Thames Valley Inward Investment Report 2018/19 highlights that Germany produced 6 new projects, created 29 new jobs and safeguarded 22 jobs in the region.
Further to the history of projects from Germany, 18 new collaborative research programmes were recently announced between The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG). Two of these programmes are in collaboration with Thames Valley’s University of Oxford, known for its research excellence.
Left: Senior industry representatives share their views on what makes the UK the natural target for companies that are investing and growing.
There are a number of German-owned companies that have been attracted to the Thames Valley as a prime region to set up their UK head offices.
Bayer are a German-owned multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences company and one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Bayer’s areas of business include human and veterinary pharmaceuticals; consumer healthcare products; agricultural chemicals, seeds and biotechnology products.biotechnology.
Bayer has committed its long term future and expansion plans by relocating its UK headquarters to Green Park, Reading, Berkshire. The company has taken 80,000sqft of space in 400 South Oak Way on a 15-year lease. Following major refurbishment of the building, Bayer will carry out further fit-out to provide the company with state of the art facilities and flexible workspaces in the heart of the Thames Valley.
According to Department for International Trade (DIT) Foreign-Direct Investment (FDI) statistics for 2018/19, of all European countries, Italy ranked second highest in terms of new FDI projects – 101 and created 1,515 new jobs whilst safeguarding 35 jobs. The Thames Valley Inward Investment Report 2018/19 highlights that Italy produced 3 new projects and created 18 new jobs in the region.
Discover more at Department for International Trade.
The exceptional space sector presence here in the Thames Valley, most significantly at Harwell, Oxfordshire, has encouraged a number of foreign-owned companies to the region. See below for one example.
Kayser Italia is an independent aerospace systems engineering company, who initially established operations in 1986. Since its launch, the company has participated in more than 50 space missions and 80 payloads – all of which have been completed with full scientific, technical, economic and programmatic success.
Below: Hear from Charlotte Firth (in both English and Italian), part of James Cowper Kreston’s International Tax team, on what the region has to offer Italian inward investors.
The UK and the Netherlands have enjoyed more than 400-year long trading heritage, which continues to growth from strength to strengthen despite Brexit. The UK-Netherlands trading relationship was valued at £85.5bn in 2017.
According to Department for International Trade (DIT) Foreign-Direct Investment (FDI) statistics for 2018/19, the Netherlands 60 new FDI projects and created 2,204 new jobs whilst safeguarding 633 jobs. The Thames Valley Inward Investment Report 2018/19 highlights that the Netherlands produced 7 new projects and created 14 new jobs in the region.
UCB is a multinational biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. Their work focuses primarily on research and development, specifically involving medications centred on epilepsy, Parkinson’s, and Crohn’s diseases. UCB’s efforts are focused on treatments for severe diseases treated by specialists, particularly in the fields of central nervous system (CNS) disorders (including epilepsy), inflammatory disorders (including allergy), and oncology. UCB have chosen to locate their UK head offices on the Slough Trading Estate, Berkshire.