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West Midlands is the only UK area to see growth in foreign investment projects and employment

The West Midlands is the UK’s only area to have witnessed growth in both the number of projects and new jobs generated by foreign direct investment (FDI) last year, according to the Department for International Trade’s (DIT) latest figures.

The region recorded 171 new FDI projects during 2017/18, with the number of associated jobs reaching 9,424 – the highest number of new jobs generated in any area outside London.

Of this total, the Greater Birmingham and Solihull area welcomed 76 FDI projects, resulting in the creation of 3,138 new jobs.

Tim Pile, Chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, commented:

These latest results from DIT represent a huge vote of confidence and optimism in the region’s global standing. They represent significant progress in GBSLEP’s own objective of boosting Greater Birmingham and Solihull’s economic performance.  

“Innovative, ambitious firms from across the world are choosing to locate and expand here – citing the region’s accessibility, highly-skilled talent pool, affordable space and vibrant business community. Through the LEP’s investment into key redevelopment projects, regeneration schemes and major events, we are building a Greater Birmingham for a Greater Britain, a place where people and businesses can thrive.”

 Investors in Greater Birmingham & Solihull in 2017/18 included American-owned XPO Logistics, which took a new long-term lease on a 645,000 sq ft warehouse in Tamworth, bringing 170 jobs to the region, and Spanish automotive firm Grupo Antolin, whose major expansion in Burton-upon-Trent led to 150 new posts being created.

US-owned specialist electronics distributor Anixter, based in Lichfield; German technology business Coda Audio in Kidderminster; and Italian automotive company Raicam Group in Redditch also newly invested or expanded into the region in the last 12 months.

 The region’s inward investment strategy focuses on sectors with the highest growth potential including: advanced manufacturing; life sciences; business, professional & financial services; tech & digital; and food & drink. Other firms that have recently invested into the region, which align with these sectors, include Canadian engineering consultancy firm WSP; US engineering product management company Bechtel; and US software specialist Allegis.