US officials are seeking to attract investment from UK businesses post-Brexit by telling them there has never been a better time to expand or invest in the US.
At a special event at the US Embassy in London last week, Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Yael Lempert was among those to address more than 80 C-suite executives from UK businesses with US interests at the event.
US is already the UK’s largest trading partner by country, with cross border trade totalling over $250 billion.
With the prospect of a free trade deal on the horizon, and with current economic conditions looking favorable, a growing number of UK middle market businesses are weighing up whether to enter or expand their presence in the US market.
Speakers including RSM UK’s Brexit lead partner Simon Hart and Gus Franklyn-Bute, Senior Regional Investment Advisor from the US Commercial Service set the scene by looking ahead to the trade negotiations due later this year, highlighting some of the areas of common interest as well as the potential flashpoints.
This was followed by an upbeat assessment of the outlook for the US economy over the coming year, delivered by RSM US chief economist Joe Brusuelas.
Amid a decline in trade tensions with China, he forecast a 2% growth rate in the US economy, with unemployment remaining at around 3.5% and inflation of around 2% – conditions which were conducive to UK firms looking to expand their operations.
Mr Brusuelas pointed to a number of economic hotspots around the US, notably California, Texas and New York, as well as areas to watch such as Utah where the software sector is experiencing significant growth.
However, he cautioned that businesses and investors needed to keep a close eye on risks. These included policy errors in trade or central banking (which could include an intensification of the trade war with China or tariffs on US imports from the UK or EU), liquidity events or heightened geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.
He also argued that despite the US Administration’s current protectionist rhetoric, the US economy was deeply embedded with the global economy, both in terms of goods and services, and finance, and this would be likely to increase in the future with the development of the cross border digital economy.
Chris Knowles, head of technology and management consulting at RSM UK and Matt Dollard from RSM US developed the digital technology theme, providing insights on the digital challenges and opportunities associated with US expansion, as well as the decision-making processes required by boards when deciding on major strategic investments.
A notable feature of the event was an insightful presentation from Nick Hoare, COO from venue provider etc.venues, who spoke about his experience of preparing his company for its imminent expansion into New York City – opening at 360 Madison Avenue in Q1 2020.
He gave some real-world examples of the cultural and business challenges that the business had faced, the exciting opportunity that the new market presents and the very encouraging customer response before the venue opens.