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Investing in the future: R&D is U.K.'s prime offering - Business & Finance

Foreign investment figures released recently show the United Kingdom during 2001 was an interesting place.Measured across nine sectors,the number of jobs created fell by more than half to 34,000 from record numbers in 2000 that included several e-commerce projects. Of those projects, 300 were from companies new to the United Kingdom, with the remainder more or less evenly split between mergers and acquisitions, and expansions. There were also a handful of joint ventures.

The numbers aren't surprising, and, as Patricia Hewitt, Britain's secretary of state for trade and industry, pointed out, show the United Kingdom certainly isn't immune to global economic forces. Both electronics and telecoms fared comparatively well, only finishing behind software, IT/Internet and automotive in terms of the number of new projects.However, the measure of a country's success in attracting for eign money is how it retains those operations when the markets dive.

As we all know, Motorola and NEC-to name two -- saw no compelling reason to hang around in Scotland when things got tight.The last few years for electronics were described in the Invest U.K. report as a period of consolidation as companies looked to lower business costs, retain competitiveness and maintain tightening profit margins.That consolidation has seen the disappearance of several electronics manufacturing operations from the United Kingdom

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