L’in­ves­tis­se­ment étran­ger, mo­teur de la ré­in­dus­tria­li­sa­tion au Royaume-Uni ?

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Does fo­rei­gn in­vest­ment drive rein­dis­trua­li­sa­tion in the Uni­ted King­dom ?

L’in­ves­tis­se­ment étran­ger, mo­teur de la ré­in­dus­tria­li­sa­tion au Royaume-Uni ?

De­puis des dé­cen­nies, le Royaume-Uni fait de l’at­trac­tion d’en­tre­prises étran­gères un élé­ment­clé de sa po­li­tique in­dus­trielle. Les pou­voirs pu­blics ont en ef­fet eu très tôt la convic­tion que la pé­né­tra­tion des ca­pi­taux étran­gers se tra­dui­sait par des re­tom­bées po­si­tives sur le tis­su éco­no­mique na­tio­nal. L’éco­no­mie bri­tan­nique montre, à ce titre, que l’on peut sou­te­nir une in­dus­trie na­tio­nale sans cher­cher à pré­ser­ver coûte que coûte les « cham­pions » na­tio­naux. Il se­rait ce­pen­dant naïf de pen­ser que cette ou­ver­ture in­ter­na­tio­nale suf­fit à elle seule à ga­ran­tir une in­dus­trie dy­na­mique et ré­si­liente. Les in­ves­tis­se­ments di­rects étran­gers (IDE) ne sont qu’un des ingrédients né­ces­saires à la ré­in­dus­tria­li­sa­tion des ter­ri­toires. Pour pro­duire des ef­fets du­rables, la po­li­tique de pro­mo­tion des IDE doit s’ac­com­pa­gner de me­sures de dé­ve­lop­pe­ment éco­no­mique lo­cal (in­fra­struc­tures, sou­tien aux en­tre­prises, re­nou­vel­le­ment des com­pé­tences, etc.).

Par ailleurs, la re­nais­sance du sec­teur au­to­mo­bile comme la ti­mide re­prise de l’em­ploi in­dus­triel au Royaume-Uni ne doivent pas oc­cul­ter, par exemple, la pau­pé­ri­sa­tion des ac­tifs ni l’ac­crois­se­ment des dis­pa­ri­tés ré­gio­nales. Le ta­bleau d’en­semble est donc contras­té. Si le Royaume-Uni a prou­vé par le pas­sé sa forte ca­pa­ci­té de re­bond, son ave­nir dé­pen­dra beau­coup de l’is­sue des né­go­cia­tions sur sa sor­tie de l’Union eu­ro­péenne (UE).

Does fo­rei­gn in­vest­ment drive rein­dus­tria­li­sa­tion in the Uni­ted King­dom?

For de­cades, the Uni­ted King­dom has made at­trac­ting fo­rei­gn com­pa­nies a key as­pect of its in­dus­trial po­li­cy. The coun­try’s pu­blic au­tho­ri­ties were convin­ced from an ear­ly stage that the pe­ne­tra­tion of fo­rei­gn ca­pi­tal would have a po­si­tive im­pact on the na­tio­nal eco­no­my. The Bri­tish eco­no­my de­mons­trates, in this res­pect, that it is pos­sible to sup­port na­tio­nal in­dus­try wi­thout trying to pre­serve na­tio­nal “lea­ders” at all costs.

Ho­we­ver, it would be naïve to ima­gine that this in­ter­na­tio­nal open­ness is suf­fi­cient on its own to gua­ran­tee a dy­na­mic, re­si­lient in­dus­try. Fo­rei­gn di­rect in­vest­ment (FDI) is on­ly one of the in­gre­dients re­qui­red for rein­dus­tria­li­sa­tion. If its ef­fects are to be long las­ting, the po­li­cy that pro­motes FDI needs to be ac­com­pa­nied by mea­sures for lo­cal eco­no­mic de­ve­lop­ment (in­fra­struc­tures, sup­port for com­pa­nies, skills re­ne­wal, etc.).

Mo­reo­ver, the re­vi­val of the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try and the mo­dest re­co­ve­ry of in­dus­trial em­ploy­ment in the Uni­ted King­dom should not de­tract from, for example, grea­ter po­ver­ty among wor­kers and in­crea­sing re­gio­nal dis­pa­ri­ties. The ove­rall pic­ture is the­re­fore mixed. While the Uni­ted King­dom has shown a high ca­pa­ci­ty to bounce back in the past, its fu­ture is high­ly de­pendent on the out­come of ne­go­tia­tions re­gar­ding its exit from the Eu­ro­pean Union (EU).

Une dés­in­dus­tria­li­sa­tion ra­pide mais qui semble en­di­guée de­puis 2011

Beau­coup d’ob­ser­va­teurs consi­dèrent que le Royaume-Uni n’est plus une grande na­tion in­dus­trielle mais un pays qui a « fait le choix des ser­vices » et no­tam­ment des ser­vices fi­nan­ciers(2). De nom­breux cham­pions in­dus­triels bri­tan­niques ont dis­pa­ru ou été ra­che­tés par des concur­rents étran­gers. Le dé­clin a été ra­pide : se­lon Eu­ro­stat, en 1970, le sec­teur ma­nu­fac­tu­rier contri­buait à hau­teur de 25% à la ri­chesse na­tio­nale mais, en 2017, il n’en re­pré­sen­tait plus que 9,2%(3). En France, sur la même pé­riode, cette part est pas­sée de 20 % à 12,2%(4). De même, la part de l’em­ploi ma­nu­fac­tu­rier bri­tan­nique s’est presque ré­duite de moi­tié, pas­sant de 13 % en 2005 à 9% en 2017, quand elle pas­sait de 16% à 12% en France sur la même pé­riode(5).

Pour au­tant, le Royaume-Uni n’est pas seule­ment une éco­no­mie de ser­vices. Le pays a su conser­ver de nom­breux atouts dans des sec­teurs tels que la phar­ma­cie, l’au­to­mo­bile ou en­core l’aé­ro­nau­tique. De plus, de­puis 2011, l’in­dus­trie bri­tan­nique tra­verse une pé­riode plus dy­na­mique : 23 000 em­plois ma­nu­fac­tu­riers ont été créés entre 2011 et 2016, don­nant l’es­poir d’une re­prise in­dus­trielle. Ce chiffre reste certes mo­deste re­la­ti­ve­ment aux des­truc­tions an­té­rieures, mais il se dis­tingue des contre-per­for­mances fran­çaises (112.000 em­plois dé­truits sur la même pé­riode).

Les in­ves­tis­se­ments di­rects étran­gers au ser­vice du dé­ve­lop­pe­ment des ter­ri­toires in­dus­triels

À l’in­verse de ses voi­sins, le Royaume-Uni s’est ou­vert très tôt aux in­ves­tis­se­ments di­rects étran­gers (IDE), les di­ri­geants bri­tan­niques étant convain­cus de l’ap­port po­si­tif de ces der­niers à l’éco­no­mie. L’at­trac­ti­vi­té du pays pour les IDE s’ap­puyait sur sa tra­di­tion mar­chande, sa langue et ses re­la­tions com­mer­ciales his­to­riques avec les États-Unis. La mise en place dans les an­nées 1980 de po­li­tiques de li­bé­ra­li­sa­tion et de dé­ré­gu­la­tion mas­sives par le gou­ver­ne­ment de Mar­ga­re­thT­hat­cher a ren­for­cé cette at­trac­ti­vi­té, au mo­ment où une po­li­tique fa­vo­rable au dé­ve­lop­pe­ment des ser­vices contri­buait sur­tout à la pros­pé­ri­té de Londres. Les pou­voirs ré­gio­naux et lo­caux ont at­ti­ré les IDE par des in­ci­ta­tions, par­fois condi­tion­nées à la créa­tion d’em­plois dans les ré­gions d’im­plan­ta­tion. C’est ain­si qu’en 1980, les IDE en­trants au Royaume-Uni re­pré­sen­taient 11,2 % du PIB contre 4,5 % en France.

Ra­pid dein­dus­tria­li­sa­tion that seems to be in check since 2011

Ma­ny ob­ser­vers consi­der that the Uni­ted King­dom is no lon­ger a great in­dus­trial na­tion, but ra­ther a coun­try that has “op­ted for ser­vices” and es­pe­cial­ly fi­nan­cial ser­vices(2). Nu­me­rous Bri­tish in­dus­trial cham­pions have ei­ther di­sap­pea­red or been bought out by fo­rei­gn com­pe­ti­tors. The de­cline was swift: ac­cor­ding to Eu­ro­stat, in 1970, the ma­nu­fac­tu­ring sec­tor contri­bu­ted 25 % of na­tio­nal wealth, but by 2017 it on­ly re­pre­sen­ted 9.2%(3). In France du­ring the same per­iod, this share went from 20 % to 12.2%(4). Si­mi­lar­ly, the share of Bri­tish ma­nu­fac­tu­ring jobs has al­most hal­ved, drop­ping from 13% in 2005 to 9 % in 2015, com­pa­red with 16% to 12% in France du­ring the same per­iod(5).

Ne­ver­the­less, the Uni­ted King­dom is not on­ly a ser­vice-ba­sed eco­no­my. The coun­try has suc­cee­ded in main­tai­ning nu­me­rous ad­van­tages in sec­tors like phar­ma­ceu­tics, au­to­mo­biles and ae­ro­nau­tics. In ad­di­tion, since 2011, the Bri­tish in­dus­try has seen its eco­no­my pick up, with 23,000 ma­nu­fac­tu­ring jobs crea­ted from 2011 to 2016, brin­ging the hope of in­dus­trial re­co­ve­ry. While this fi­gure is mo­dest com­pa­red to pre­vious job des­truc­tions, it cuts a contrast with French un­der­per­for­mance (112,000 jobs des­troyed over the same per­iod).

Using fo­rei­gn di­rect in­vest­ment to de­ve­lop in­dus­trial ter­ri­to­ries

Un­like its neigh­bours, the Uni­ted King­dom ope­ned up to fo­rei­gn di­rect in­vest­ment (FDI) at a ve­ry ear­ly stage, since Bri­tish lea­ders were convin­ced that it would have a po­si­tive im­pact on the eco­no­my. The coun­try’s at­trac­ti­ve­ness to fo­rei­gn in­ves­tors stem­med from its tra­ding tra­di­tion, lan­guage, and his­to­ric com­mer­cial ties with the Uni­ted States. The li­be­ra­li­sa­tion and mas­sive de­re­gu­la­tion po­li­cies im­ple­men­ted in the 1980s by the That­cher go­vern­ment in­crea­sed this at­trac­ti­ve­ness, in pa­ral­lel with a po­li­cy to en­cou­rage the de­ve­lop­ment of ser­vices that boos­ted pros­pe­ri­ty most­ly in Lon­don. Re­gio­nal and lo­cal au­tho­ri­ties at­trac­ted FDI with in­cen­tives, so­me­times on the condi­tion of crea­ting jobs in the re­gions where com­pa­nies set up. Thus in 1980, FDI in­flows in­to the Uni­ted King­dom re­pre­sen­ted 11.2% of GDP com­pa­red to 4.5% in France.

Ré­sul­tat : se­lon la Con­fé­rence des Na­tions unies sur le com­merce et le dé­ve­lop­pe­ment (CNUCED), le stock to­tal d’IDE en­trant au Royaume-Uni est 1,7 fois plus éle­vé que ce­lui qu’on ob­serve en France (700 mil­liards de dol­lars en 2016). Ac­tuel­le­ment, se­lon le ca­bi­net EY, le Royaume-Uni est la des­ti­na­tion pri­vi­lé­giée, tous sec­teurs confon­dus, des in­ves­tis­seurs en Eu­rope et se classe au deuxième rang eu­ro­péen pour l’ac­cueil de pro­jets in­dus­triels.

Les IDE ont contri­bué au dé­ve­lop­pe­ment éco­no­mique des ré­gions et li­mi­té le dé­clin de cer­tains vieux ter­ri­toires in­dus­triels. Les Mid­lands de l’Ouest par exemple, ré­gion plus for­te­ment tou­chée que les autres par la dés­in­dus­tria­li­sa­tion, a ti­ré par­ti de l’im­plan­ta­tion de l’in­dien Ta­ta. En 2008, le groupe a ra­che­té les marques Ja­guar et Land Ro­ver et in­ves­ti des mon­tants consi­dé­rables pour faire mon­ter en gamme l’ap­pa­reil pro­duc­tif de ses trois usines. Son usine de So­li­hull a ac­cueilli plus de 1,5 mil­liard de livres d’in­ves­tis­se­ment. La ré­gion des Mid­lands de l’Ouest a vu la part in­dus­trielle de son PIB ga­gner 2,5 points entre 2009 et 2015, et son taux de chô­mage pas­ser de 9,7 % à 5,7 % entre 2009 et 2016.

Un tour­nant idéo­lo­gique ma­jeur : le re­tour de la po­li­tique in­dus­trielle

La crise fi­nan­cière de 2008 a sus­ci­té une in­flexion ma­jeure des po­li­tiques pu­bliques. Sans ex­pli­ci­te­ment par­ler de po­li­tique in­dus­trielle, le gou­ver­ne­ment Ca­me­ron a af­fi­ché, dès son ar­ri­vée au pou­voir, la vo­lon­té de « réé­qui­li­brer l’éco­no­mie au pro­fit de l’in­dus­trie et des ré­gions »(6). Outre une po­li­tique d’aus­té­ri­té dras­tique, il a dé­ployé des ac­tions ci­blées sur onze fi­lières stra­té­giques(7) et lan­cé un plan de me­sures ho­ri­zon­tales (flexi­bi­li­té du mar­ché du tra­vail, al­lé­ge­ment fis­cal et ré­gle­men­taire, etc.). Avec l’ar­ri­vée de The­re­sa May, la po­li­tique in­dus­trielle n’est plus un ta­bou. Une stra­té­gie éco­no­mique et in­dus­trielle a été dé­fi­nie, vi­sant, dans le contexte du Brexit, à « ex­ploi­ter l’éco­no­mie tout en­tière » sans se li­mi­ter au sec­teur des ser­vices.

Des me­sures ont ain­si été prises, d’un cô­té, pour ai­der les in­dus­tries les plus pro­met­teuses en mi­sant par­ti­cu­liè­re­ment sur l’in­no­va­tion tech­no­lo­gique et, de l’autre, pour rendre les an­ciennes ré­gions si­nis­trées de nou­veau com­pé­ti­tives sur la scène mon­diale grâce à un plan d’amé­na­ge­ment du ter­ri­toire (in­fra­struc­tures, fonds de crois­sance ré­gio­nale, etc.). Ces po­li­tiques rompent ain­si avec une longue tra­di­tion de lais­ser-faire et de ré­duc­tion du rôle de l’État dans l’éco­no­mie.C’est un vé­ri­table re­vi­re­ment idéo­lo­gique pour un pays qui n’avait pas eu à pro­pre­ment par­ler de po­li­tique in­dus­trielle de­puis les an­nées 1960.

The out­come: ac­cor­ding to the Uni­ted Na­tions Confe­rence on Trade and De­ve­lop­ment (UNCTAD), the to­tal FDI stock en­te­ring the Uni­ted King­dom is 1.7 times hi­gher than that ob­ser­ved in France (700 bil­lion USD in 2016). Ac­cor­ding to the consul­ting firm EY, ta­king all sec­tors to­ge­ther, the Uni­ted King­dom is the choice tar­get for in­ves­tors in Eu­rope, and ranks se­cond in Eu­rope for hos­ting in­dus­trial pro­jects.

FDI has contri­bu­ted to eco­no­mic de­ve­lop­ment in Bri­tish re­gions and li­mi­ted the de­cline of some long-stan­ding in­dus­trial ter­ri­to­ries. The West Mid­lands, for example, which is the re­gion most af­fec­ted by dein­dus­tria­li­sa­tion in the UK, has be­ne­fi­ted from the es­ta­blish­ment of the In­dian firm Ta­ta. In 2008, the group bought the brands Ja­guar and Land Ro­ver and in­ves­ted consi­de­rable sums to up­grade pro­duc­tion sys­tems in its three fac­to­ries.

Its fac­to­ry in So­li­hull re­cei­ved over 1.5 bil­lion GBP of in­vest­ments. The West Mid­lands saw the in­dus­trial share of its GDP in­crease by 2.5 points from 2009 to 2015, and its unem­ploy­ment rate drop from 9.7 % to 5.7 % from 2009 to 2016.

Ma­jor ideo­lo­gi­cal tur­ning point: the re­turn of in­dus­trial po­li­cy

The fi­nan­cial cri­sis of 2008 trig­ge­red a ma­jor change in di­rec­tion for pu­blic po­li­cies. Wi­thout ex­pli­cit­ly men­tio­ning in­dus­trial po­li­cy, as soon as it ar­ri­ved in po­wer the Ca­me­ron go­vern­ment ex­pres­sed a de­sire to “re­ba­lance the eco­no­my, en­su­ring that suc­cess and pros­pe­ri­ty are spread more even­ly across re­gions and in­dus­tries”(6). Along with a dras­tic aus­te­ri­ty po­li­cy, it im­ple­men­ted tar­ge­ted ac­tion on ele­ven stra­te­gic in­dus­tries(7) and laun­ched a plan of ho­ri­zon­tal mea­sures (more flexible la­bour mar­ket, re­du­ced taxes and re­gu­la­tions, etc.). With the ar­ri­val of The­re­sa May, in­dus­trial po­li­cy is no lon­ger ta­boo. An eco­no­mic and in­dus­trial stra­te­gy has been de­fi­ned ai­ming, in the context of Brexit, to “a pro­per in­dus­trial stra­te­gy to get the whole eco­no­my fi­ring ” and not just the ser­vice sec­tor.

Mea­sures have the­re­fore been ta­ken to, on the one hand, help the most pro­mi­sing in­dus­tries by tar­ge­ting tech­no­lo­gi­cal in­no­va­tion, and on the other hand, make for­mer af­flic­ted re­gions in­ter­na­tio­nal­ly com­pe­ti­tive again through land ma­na­ge­ment plan­ning (in­fra­struc­tures, re­gio­nal growth funds, etc.). These po­li­cies break with a long tra­di­tion of lais­ser-faire and li­mi­ted state role in the eco­no­my. It marks a real ideo­lo­gi­cal tur­na­round for a coun­try that has not had any in­dus­trial po­li­cy to speak of since the 1960s.

Mixed re­sults, un­cer­tain pros­pects

Wi­thout doubt, the sub­si­dies pro­vi­ded by the state and pu­blic bo­dies ini­tial­ly pro­ved use­ful to at­tract in­ves­tors to af­flic­ted in­dus­trial re­gions and slow down the di­vide bet­ween Lon­don and the rest of the coun­try. Ne­ver­the­less, these in­vest­ments, ho­we­ver high, clear­ly re­main in­suf­fi­cient to re­verse the de­cline of lo­cal eco­no­mies. Worse, fo­rei­gn com­pa­nies lo­gi­cal­ly tend to choose the re­gions with the best skills and the most dy­na­mic eco­sys­tems. This na­tu­ral­ly fos­ters spa­tial in­equa­li­ties wi­thin eli­gible areas. So­me­times, a single “me­ga-pro­ject” lo­cal­ly wins most of the grants be­cause of the ex­pec­ta­tions it creates. As a re­sult, the ad­van­tages of FDI are not fair­ly di­vi­ded wi­thin ter­ri­to­ries or sec­tors. The re­co­ve­ry of in­dus­try in the West Mid­lands for example hides si­gni­fi­cant dis­pa­ri­ties in the re­gion. Bir­min­gham, the re­gion’s big­gest ci­ty, has an unem­ploy­ment rate of al­most 11% and it is clear that at­trac­ting fo­rei­gn in­ves­tors is not en­ough to reab­sorb years of dein­dus­tria­li­sa­tion and lack of com­mit­ment from pu­blic au­tho­ri­ties.

Si­mi­lar­ly, al­though the crea­tion of a Nis­san fac­to­ry in 1986 in Sun­der­land, nor­theast En­gland, to­day contri­butes to the ove­rall dy­na­mism of the car in­dus­try, it al­so ac­cen­tuates the po­la­ri­sa­tion of com­pa­nies in the area, and conse­quent­ly of pu­blic sup­port, i.e. fun­ding of in­fra­struc­ture, clus­ters, etc. For example, bet­ween 2000 and 2015 , ma­nu­fac­tu­ring GDP in the bo­rough of Sun­der­land rose by 31.4% com­pa­red to +13.4% for the whole nor­theast re­gion (+17.4% na­tio­nal­ly)(8).

The ar­ri­val of fo­rei­gn com­pa­nies has led to job crea­tions, lar­ge­ly fa­ci­li­ta­ted by the in­crea­sed flexi­bi­li­ty of the Bri­tish la­bour mar­ket. The coun­try’s re­co­ve­ry stra­te­gy, ba­sed on la­bour mar­ket re­forms (“ze­ro-hours” contracts, drop in real wages, etc.), has in­crea­sed the num­ber of low­qua­li­fied jobs.

In the West Mid­lands, the pre­sence of fo­rei­gn com­pa­nies has un­de­nia­bly led to the crea­tion of dy­na­mic eco­sys­tems, and the re­gion has suc­cee­ded in main­tai­ning qua­li­fied in­dus­trial jobs in some do­mains re­qui­ring ex­pert know­ledge. Ho­we­ver, since the job mar­ket star­ted to pick up in 2011, 28 % of jobs crea­ted in the re­gion have been in­se­cure, i.e. self-em­ployed jobs on low pay, “ze­ro-hours” contracts, etc. Wor­kers in the West Mid­lands ear­ned about 900 GBP less in 2016 than they did in 2008(9). (8) Source Eu­ro­stat - Der­nières don­nées dis­po­nibles.

(9)Voir les tra­vaux du Think Tank IPPR North, le Centre for Pro­gres­sive Ca­pi­ta­lism et Re­so­lu­tion Foun­da­tion

This re­co­ve­ry of ma­nu­fac­tu­ring em­ploy­ment since 2011 is the­re­fore in­de­pendent from the suc­cess­ful up­mar­ket move achie­ved by some sec­tors, such as the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try. Ta­king all sec­tors to­ge­ther, the Uni­ted King­dom still bears the scars of years of dein­dus­tria­li­sa­tion. The lack of qua­li­fi­ca­tions and skills re­mains a ma­jor chal­lenge. In ad­di­tion, the num­ber of na­tio­nal com­pa­nies in­clu­ded in the sup­ply chains of fo­rei­gn firms re­mains too low, and the go­vern­ment has on­ly re­cent­ly made this a condi­tion for its fi­nan­cial sup­port.

Brexit al­so raises a num­ber of concerns: on the one hand, the Uni­ted King­dom risks de­pri­ving it­self from fo­rei­gn ta­lents in­dis­pen­sible to the coun­try, gi­ven that the most qua­li­fied young Bri­tish people tend to opt for ca­reers in fi­nance.

As a re­min­der, ac­cor­ding to Co­face(10), the more res­tric­tive im­mi­gra­tion po­li­cy pro­mi­sed by the go­vern­ment is li­ke­ly to re­sult in la­bour shor­tages: in Bri­tish in­dus­try, 10.2% of em­ployees are EU ci­ti­zens, and a third of these oc­cu­py qua­li­fied po­si­tions. Mo­reo­ver, ac­cess to the com­mon mar­ket re­mains a de­ci­sive fac­tor for in­ves­tors de­ci­ding whe­ther to move in­to a coun­try. The Lon­don School of Eco­no­mics’ Centre for Eco­no­mic Per­for­mance(11) es­ti­mates that the Uni­ted King­dom could lose 22% of its FDI in­flows du­ring the next de­cade.

What emerges from the Bri­tish stra­te­gy on in­dus­trial po­li­cy and FDI?

Gi­ven the coun­try’s non-in­ter­ven­tio­nist tra­di­tion, Bri­tish in­dus­trial po­li­cy has not ta­ken the form of an emer­gen­cy plan for in­dus­try, which would have sup­por­ted com­pa­nies in their in­vest­ment pro­jects, si­mi­lar to what has been ob­ser­ved in most conti­nen­tal Eu­ro­pean coun­tries.

Ins­tead, it has im­ple­men­ted ho­ri­zon­tal mea­sures – i.e. re­du­ced cor­po­rate taxes and re­gu­la­tions, ac­cess to SME fun­ding, de­ve­lop­ment of qua­li­fied, flexible la­bour, at­tri­bu­tion of pu­blic mar­kets to SMEs, and the de­ve­lop­ment of Sup­ply Chains – and sup­port for se­ve­ral sec­tors in which the coun­try had ma­jor ad­van­tages, but this po­li­cy is still mo­de­rate in scope. The state takes a prag­ma­tic, op­por­tu­nis­tic ap­proach to fi­nan­cial­ly contri­bu­ting to dif­ferent ini­tia­tives im­ple­men­ted lo­cal­ly by pri­vate sta­ke­hol­ders, pro­vi­ded that they are be­ne­fi­cial to the eco­no­my. As an example, in the au­to­mo­tive sec­tor, the state en­cou­rages, ac­com­pa­nies and contri­butes to in­vest­ments by em­ble­ma­tic fo­rei­gn com­pa­nies such as Nis­san and Ja­guar, Land Ro­ver (now ow­ned by Ta­ta) to de­ve­lop their lo­cal ac­ti­vi­ty and the eco­sys­tem (R&D centres, Clus­ters). The pu­blic au­tho­ri­ties consi­der that the clo­ser the ties a fo­rei­gn com­pa­ny makes with its ter­ri­to­ry, the more ex­pen­sive it will be for it to re­lo­cate its ac­ti­vi­ties in the fu­ture. (10)Co­face, 2017, « Face au Brexit les en­tre­prises bri­tan­niques vont-elles fi­ler à l’an­glaise ? », juin

(11)Dhin­gra S., Ot­ta­via­no G., Samp­son T., Van Ree­nen J., 2016, «The im­pact of Brexit on fo­rei­gn in­vest­ment in the UK », CEP Brexit Ana­ly­sis, n°2, Centre for Eco­no­mic Per­for­mance, LSE, avril.

Lo­cal au­tho­ri­ties, to which the state trans­fer­red bud­gets and skills in 2010, have made consi­de­rable ef­forts.

They seem to take a prag­ma­tic ap­proach de­ter­mi­ned by their un­ders­tan­ding of com­pa­nies’ needs and, un­like French com­pe­ti­ti­ve­ness clus­ters for example, do not im­pose that all sec­tors and ter­ri­to­ries that re­ceive aid must meet the same eli­gi­bi­li­ty cri­te­ria de­fi­ned by the state. The mo­bi­li­sa­tion of pu­blic au­tho­ri­ties re­mains cru­cial to make best use of the be­ne­fits re­sul­ting from fo­rei­gn com­pa­nies’ lo­ca­tion in the Uni­ted King­dom. It is not en­ough to at­tract FDI by pro­mo­ting the coun­try’s as­sets; it needs to be si­mul­ta­neous­ly ac­com­pa­nied by a po­li­cy of eco­no­mic de­ve­lop­ment and plan­ning in or­der to fos­ter long-term knock-on ef­fects. The key is­sue for both lo­cal and na­tio­nal pu­blic au­tho­ri­ties is to en­sure that the re­sources (na­tu­ral, fis­cal, land and hu­man) that they de­vote to fo­rei­gn in­ves­tors are al­lo­ca­ted to pro­jects with a maxi­mi­sed po­ten­tial for fea­si­bi­li­ty and lo­cal be­ne­fits. The Bri­tish go­vern­ment should the­re­fore make sure that it fo­cuses on the ma­jor pro­jects of edu­ca­tion and mo­der­ni­sa­tion of in­fra­struc­tures, be­cause the new eco­no­my and high-tech sec­tors will re­quire si­gni­fi­cant num­bers of ma­na­gers and en­gi­neers. It could thus era­di­cate the wor­rying de­cline of na­tio­nal pro­duc­ti­vi­ty.

Over­co­ming these chal­lenges is all the more vi­tal in the wake of Brexit. While the Bri­tish eco­no­my still pre­sents nu­me­rous ad­van­tages in the eyes of in­ves­tors in terms of tax, red tape and la­bour mar­ket flexi­bi­li­ty, exit from the Eu­ro­pean Union risks ma­king the coun­try a great deal less at­trac­tive. The Uni­ted King­dom’s strong de­pen­dence on FDI al­so obliges the Bri­tish go­vern­ment to ne­go­tiate com­pen­sa­tion agree­ments with ma­jor fo­rei­gn groups in the event of a “hard” Brexit, and to im­ple­ment an ag­gres­sive tax po­li­cy in or­der to keep them. These mea­sures are li­ke­ly to weigh hea­vi­ly on pu­blic fi­nances. This raises ques­tions about the Uni­ted King­dom’s ca­pa­ci­ty to pur­sue a long-term in­dus­trial stra­te­gy ba­sed on tech­no­lo­gi­cal in­no­va­tion, a tar­get set by The­re­sa May to gua­ran­tee the coun­try a suc­cess­ful exit from the EU.

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