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The 2017 A.T. Kearney Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index®

Investors are bullish about economic growth and FDI prospects, but are monitoring political risks for abrupt changes to the business environment.

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 Gain   Decline   Not ranked last year   No change
Rank Country Change from 2016 Score
2017/2016
(Scale of 3)
Remarks

1 United StatesUnited States 2.03/2.02 The United States takes the top spot for the fifth year in a row. Its large market and business-friendly environment are enduring sources of investor interest, even amid the uncertainty associated with President Trump’s policy proposals.

2 GermanyGermany ▲2 1.86/1.75 Germany enjoys its highest ranking in the history of the Index, likely reflecting its business-friendly regulatory environment and improving economic prospects—and possibly some heightened interest because of Brexit.

3 ChinaChina ▼1 1.83/1.82 China continues its run among the top three since the inception of the Index, with investors likely motivated by a stabilizing economy and government plans to cut substantial red tape surrounding foreign investment.

4 United KingdomUnited Kingdom ▲1 1.80/1.73 The United Kingdom rises one spot, which reflects the country’s strong long-term fundamentals and could indicate that businesses currently only in continental Europe may be seeking a foothold in the UK market because of Brexit.

5 CanadaCanada ▼2 1.78/1.80 Canada remains among the top five for the fifth consecutive year. The government’s infrastructure spending and less stringent review of foreign takeovers may bolster its appeal, but planned renegotiation of NAFTA might explain its slight drop in the rankings.

6 JapanJapan 1.72/1.73 Japan ranks sixth for the second consecutive year. Investors in the IT industry are especially bullish about investing here, and the government is implementing reforms to attract more FDI in the coming years.

7 FranceFrance ▲1 1.71/1.60 France’s rise this year may be a result of recent reforms to improve the investment environment and boost economic growth. But the upcoming presidential election is creating some uncertainty about the country’s future policy trajectory.

8 IndiaIndia ▲1 1.68/1.60 For the second year in a row, India appears in the top 10. The country has the world’s fastest-growing major economy, and the government is seeking to loosen FDI regulations to support Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” initiative.

9 AustraliaAustralia ▼2 1.67/1.63 Australia is in the top 10 for the seventh consecutive year, reflecting its appealing long-term fundamentals. In addition, the country is in the top five economies about which investors are most bullish this year.

10 SingaporeSingapore 1.61/1.57 Singapore’s economic growth is forecast to strengthen this year, and it continues to rank highly on key international competitiveness comparisons. Given its role as a regional shipping and financial hub, it is especially attractive to Asian investors.

11 SpainSpain ▲2 1.60/1.51 Spain’s continued rise in the Index likely reflects its recent economic resurgence. FDI is particularly booming in the rapidly recovering real estate and infrastructure sectors, which suffered a prolonged slump after the global financial crisis.

12 SwitzerlandSwitzerland ▼1 1.58/1.54 Switzerland is consistently ranked among the most competitive economies in the world, and its economy is projected to strengthen this year. However, the European Union has been criticizing the country’s investor-friendly tax policies.

13 ItalyItaly ▲3 1.56/1.48 Italy’s improvement this year may be the result of several reforms enacted in 2015 and 2016 to facilitate increased investment, including those to streamline labor policies and make starting a business easier.

14 NetherlandsNetherlands 1.55/1.51 The Netherlands is enjoying stronger economic growth, and the March 2017 reelection of Prime Minister Mark Rutte over a populist candidate will likely assuage any concerns about the country moving in a more protectionist direction.

15 SwedenSweden ▲7 1.53/1.42 Sweden makes the largest gain in the rankings, perhaps as a result of its improved performance on key international competitiveness rankings. Its status as a financial hub may also be attractive to investors seeking an EU hub because of Brexit.

16 BrazilBrazil ▼4 1.52/1.53 Brazil continues to attract foreign investors despite its short-term economic woes. And its outlook may be improving, as President Michel Temer has advanced several reforms aimed at domestic economic recovery and an improved investment environment.

17 MexicoMexico ▲1 1.51/1.45 Recent reforms aimed at boosting private investment may be yielding fruit, although Mexico’s economic growth is expected to weaken this year, likely in part due to uncertainties surrounding the future of NAFTA.

18 South KoreaSouth Korea ▼1 1.50/1.47 Political volatility may dent South Korea’s short-term attractiveness, but strong supply chain networks in Korea’s electronics and automobile industries make the country particularly appealing for foreign investors.

19 ThailandThailand ▲2 1.48/1.42 Thailand’s economy is forecast to grow at a moderate pace this year, while the government is opening significant opportunities for private investment in transportation infrastructure and seeking to attract technology sector investors.

20 IrelandIreland ▲3 1.46/1.40 With continued strong economic growth, Ireland remains a bright spot in the eurozone economy. The country’s low corporate tax rate, skilled labor force, and robust investment promotion agency also make it attractive to foreign investors.

21 United Arab EmiratesUnited Arab Emirates 1.46/NA The World Bank recently recognized the United Arab Emirates as among the top improvers in terms of its business environment, and the government remains committed to diversifying its economy and attracting new sources of FDI.

22 BelgiumBelgium ▼3 1.44/1.44 Belgium is favored by investors in Europe and those in the services industry. The country boasts among the highest levels of inward FDI stock (relative to the size of its economy) in the world.

23 New ZealandNew Zealand 1.44/NA New Zealand makes its inaugural appearance in the Index this year. The country is very open to foreign investment, and its business environment ranks first globally in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2017.

24 AustriaAustria 1.43/1.39 Austria’s economy is expected to continue to grow at a moderate rate as the new government seeks to integrate refugees into the Austrian workforce. The highest investor interest is from Europe, with recent notable investments from Germany.

25 South AfricaSouth Africa 1.42/NA South Africa makes a comeback in the Index, likely as a result of improving short-term economic prospects and the long-term investment potential in the country’s manufacturing sector.
 Gain   Decline   Not ranked last year   No change
Rank Country Change from 2016 Score
2016/2015
(Scale of 3)

1 United StatesUnited States 2.03/2.02
The United States is the top-ranked FDI destination for the fifth year in a row. The economy appears to be on an upswing, while its large market and business-friendly environment are enduring sources of investor interest despite potential volatility associated with President Trump’s radical policy proposals.

2 GermanyGermany ▲2 1.86/1.75
Germany enjoys its highest ranking in the history of the Index, likely reflecting its business-friendly regulatory environment and improving economic prospects—and possibly some heightened interest because of Brexit.

3 ChinaChina ▼1 1.83/1.82
China continues its run among the top three since the inception of the Index, with investors likely motivated by a stabilizing economy and government plans to cut substantial red tape surrounding foreign investment.

4 United KingdomUnited Kingdom ▲1 1.80/1.73
The United Kingdom rises one spot, which reflects the country’s strong long-term fundamentals and could indicate that businesses currently only in continental Europe may be seeking a foothold in the UK market because of Brexit.

5 CanadaCanada ▼2 1.78/1.80
Canada remains among the top five for the fifth consecutive year. The government’s infrastructure spending and less stringent review of foreign takeovers may bolster its appeal, but planned renegotiation of NAFTA might explain its slight drop in the rankings.

6 JapanJapan 1.72/1.73
Japan ranks sixth for the second consecutive year. Investors in the IT industry are especially bullish about investing here, and the government is implementing reforms to attract more FDI in the coming years.

7 FranceFrance ▲1 1.71/1.60
France’s rise this year may be a result of recent reforms to improve the investment environment and boost economic growth. But the upcoming presidential election is creating some uncertainty about the country’s future policy trajectory.

8 IndiaIndia ▲1 1.68/1.60
For the second year in a row, India appears in the top 10. The country has the world’s fastest-growing major economy, and the government is seeking to loosen FDI regulations to support Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” initiative.

9 AustraliaAustralia ▼2 1.67/1.63
Australia is in the top 10 for the seventh consecutive year, reflecting its appealing long-term fundamentals. In addition, the country is in the top five economies about which investors are most bullish this year.

10 SingaporeSingapore 1.61/1.57
Singapore’s economic growth is forecast to strengthen this year, and it continues to rank highly on key international competitiveness comparisons. Given its role as a regional shipping and financial hub, it is especially attractive to Asian investors.

11 SpainSpain ▲2 1.60/1.51
Spain’s continued rise in the Index likely reflects its recent economic resurgence. FDI is particularly booming in the rapidly recovering real estate and infrastructure sectors, which suffered a prolonged slump after the global financial crisis.

12 SwitzerlandSwitzerland ▼1 1.58/1.54
Switzerland is consistently ranked among the most competitive economies in the world, and its economy is projected to strengthen this year. However, the European Union has been criticizing the country’s investor-friendly tax policies.

13 ItalyItaly ▲3 1.56/1.48
Italy’s improvement this year may be the result of several reforms enacted in 2015 and 2016 to facilitate increased investment, including those to streamline labor policies and make starting a business easier.

14 NetherlandsNetherlands 1.55/1.51
The Netherlands is enjoying stronger economic growth, and the March 2017 reelection of Prime Minister Mark Rutte over a populist candidate will likely assuage any concerns about the country moving in a more protectionist direction.

15 SwedenSweden ▲7 1.53/1.42
Sweden makes the largest gain in the rankings this year, perhaps as a result of positive investor perceptions surrounding its improved performance on key international competitiveness rankings. Its status as a financial hub may also be attractive to investors seeking an EU hub because of Brexit.

16 BrazilBrazil ▼4 1.52/1.53
Brazil continues to attract foreign investors despite its short-term economic woes. And its outlook may be improving, as President Michel Temer has advanced several reforms aimed at domestic economic recovery and an improved investment environment.

17 MexicoMexico ▲1 1.51/1.45
Recent reforms aimed at boosting private investment may be yielding fruit, although Mexico’s economic growth is expected to weaken this year, likely in part due to uncertainties surrounding the future of NAFTA.

18 South KoreaSouth Korea ▼1 1.50/1.47
Political volatility may dent South Korea’s short-term attractiveness, but strong supply chain networks in Korea’s electronics and automobile industries make the country particularly appealing for foreign investors.

19 ThailandThailand ▲2 1.48/1.42
Thailand’s economy is forecast to grow at a moderate pace this year, while the government is opening significant opportunities for private investment in transportation infrastructure and seeking to attract technology sector investors.

20 IrelandIreland ▲3 1.46/1.40
With continued strong economic growth, Ireland remains a bright spot in the eurozone economy. The country’s low corporate tax rate, skilled labor force, and robust investment promotion agency also make it attractive to foreign investors.

21 United Arab EmiratesUnited Arab Emirates 1.46/NA
The World Bank recently recognized the United Arab Emirates as among the top improvers in terms of its business environment, and the government remains committed to diversifying its economy and attracting new sources of FDI.

22 BelgiumBelgium ▼3 1.44/1.44
Belgium is favored by investors in Europe and those in the services industry. The country boasts among the highest levels of inward FDI stock (relative to the size of its economy) in the world.

23 New ZealandNew Zealand ▼2 1.44/NA
New Zealand makes its inaugural appearance in the Index this year. The country is very open to foreign investment, and its business environment ranks first globally in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2017.

24 AustriaAustria 1.43/1.39
Austria’s economy is expected to continue to grow at a moderate rate as the new government seeks to integrate refugees into the Austrian workforce. The highest investor interest is from Europe, with recent notable investments from Germany.

25 South AfricaSouth Africa 1.42/NA
South Africa makes a comeback in the Index, likely as a result of improving short-term economic prospects and the long-term investment potential in the country’s manufacturing sector.

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