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PwC survey

Global CEOs see UK as more attractive after Brexit

Support has gathered for post-Brexit UK

Post-Brexit Britain has received a boost from a new poll of global CEOs who say it is a more important growth prospect now than it was before the split with the EU.

The survey of 5,000 chief executives reveals that 11% of global CEOs selected the UK as a ‘top three’ growth target, up from 9% in autumn 2019 when it was last conducted.

PwC’s 24th CEO Survey shows the UK behind the US as top target at 35%, seven percentage points ahead of China at 28%.

Germany currently holds on to its number three spot on the list of growth destinations, but strikingly post-Brexit UK moves up to number four (11%), surpassing India (8%). 

China-based CEOs in particular look to prioritise the UK market, with 13% selecting the UK, compared to only 3% in 2019. Similarly, almost a quarter (25%) of India’s CEOs said the UK was a top three growth target, up from only 9.5% in 2019.


Canada, with whom the UK signed a trade agreement in December and will look to negotiate a new deal in 2021, also saw an increase in CEOs selecting the UK. In 2019, 13% of Canadian CEOs selected the UK, rising to 20% in 2021.  

New Zealand, a key trade target for the UK, also placed more emphasis on the UK as a growth target, with a fifth (20%) of CEOs picking the UK, up from only 9% in 2019.

Kevin Ellis, chairman and senior partner at PwC UK, said: “The findings are a vote of confidence in certainty and stability, which have undoubtedly increased on the trade front. 

“Not only has the UK grown in appeal to some of our newer trade targets, but it remains an important market among our European neighbours, with 15% of Germany’s CEOs saying the UK is a top three growth target, compared with 13% in 2019. Likewise, Germany remains the second most important target for CEOs in the UK behind the U.S.  

“These are encouraging signs but there’s more to do to enhance the UK’s position and investment attractiveness in what remains a very uncertain world.” 

See also: EU import checks delayed to give firms time to prepare

2 Comments to Global CEOs see UK as more attractive after Brexit

  1. ‘UK a growth target’ in this context translates to increasing imports. Surely one of the key issues with Brexit is the difficulty many businesses now experience with exporting.
    And one might ask why the UK is seen as a growth target – if it’s driven by an expectation of a drop in animal welfare or food/product safety standards that doesn’t sound like progress to me.

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