John Cridland in Washington, D.C.

Day One

This is a diary following John Cridland on his latest trip to Washington, D.C. as CBI Director-General.

Supported by the CBI Washington team, he will be attending the SelectUSA Investment Summit, and meeting American policymakers from The White House and Congress, and British officials, to discuss TTIP.

On Monday, I was delighted to join 2,600 other senior business executives from around the world at the SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, DC. This conference — which brings together foreign businesses, and US government officials and economic development organizations — is the single largest event promoting foreign direct investment into the United States.

As you’ll know from the CBI’s latest Sterling Assets report, the United Kingdom is the number one foreign investor in the U.S. with just under $500bn total investment. This is over 18% of all foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country.

British companies invest in all fifty states, across all industries and sectors. And our businesses support just under 1 million jobs.

The UK is well ahead of the curve. We invest significantly more than India, China, and Brazil combined, whilst the next largest investor — Japan — invests just over $300bn.

In addition to being an investment destination, the U.S. also remains the largest export market for UK goods. With these — and many other — strong ties, the U.S. will always be an investment and export market priority for UK business. But we cannot become complacent.

Matthew Barzun, US Ambassador to the United Kingdom with John Cridland and John Dickerman, Head of CBI Washington.

The U.S. may appear to be a mature market, compared with the emerging markets of Asia, but the depth of the market means that the opportunities for growth for British businesses are immense. The U.S. market is competitive, divided into 50 states, with many regions having differing business needs.

And although many may see the U.S. as an ‘easy’ market, there are still risks for businesses to navigate here. For example, it was interesting to hear several companies raise the issue of litigation during the breakout sessions at the Summit.

But, the underlying strength of the economy and the depth of the internal market means that the US will always be a key destination for UK goods and capital.

Today’s Summit reinforced to me the reasons for such impressive investment credentials. Sitting listening to President Obama and other members of his Cabinet, it was crystal clear that the U.S. is open for business and offers significant opportunities for businesses from around the world.

As I head to a reception being held by the British Ambassador to the United States, Sir Peter Westmacott, I am very much encouraged by what we heard today.

British businesses — from financial services to creative industries — are in demand in the U.S. With the proper tools, we can make the most on these opportunities.

I have a busy day tomorrow, meeting members of Congress, the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and members of the Washington press. I hope you’ll come back and read all about it!

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