To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assistance his Department provides to Chinese businesses wishing to (a) invest in the United Kingdom and (b) take part in joint ventures with UK companies; how much was made available for these purposes in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement.
UK Trade and Investment promotes the UK as the location in Europe for foreign investors to do business. It provides information, advice, and guidance for companies wishing to locate in the UK and its Global Partnership Programme provides a fast expert partner matching service for overseas organisations.
In 2003-04, the last year that Regional Selective Assistance was available, no offers were accepted or payments made to a Chinese owned company. Since Selective Finance for Investment (SFI) came into effect in April 2004 there has been one offer of £3.8 million accepted by a Chinese owned company in February this year. (SFI is a capital grant business support scheme that can, subject to European Commission and Treasury criteria being satisfied, provide financial assistance to companies, foreign owned or indigenous, who wish to invest or create jobs in deprived areas in England.)
The UK welcomes inward investment from around the world, including China, which is why the latest European Investment Monitor figures show that in 2007 the UK remained the number one location in Europe for attracting inward investment globally with 19.2 per cent. of market share ahead for France in second place with 14.6 per cent.