According to research the UK is seen by global leaders as having the best growth opportunities in Europe for the next two to three years.

Allen & Overy have released a report today that examines ‘global business confidence, the shifting balance of economic power, plans for future growth and barriers to market entry’.

The report (50° East) was compiled from in-depth research on 1,000 business leaders of large international companies operating in 19 countries.

The research found that, despite recent market turmoil, 96% global leaders are very or reasonable confident about business prospects.

The UK came out in the top five in the world of markets that presented the best opportunities for growth. Top was China (44%), then India (34%), the USA (23%) and Brazil (14%). The UK had 12%.

The UK was very much favoured by US respondents. 23% of them identified the UK as a key growth market for them.

The report also shows that the US and European markets are seen to be in decline amongst 22% and 19% of respondents respectively. Whereas the Asia Pacific economic influence is seen to be on the rise by 75% of respondents.

The BRIC countries identified the US and Germany as the most difficult markets to enter. Whilst Europeans pointed to China and India as the most difficult.

The UK though put Russia at the top of the list as the most difficult market to enter. And as Allen & Overy point out, David Cameron’s recent visit will have come as welcome news to these business leaders.

But across the board the regulatory environment was seen to be the single biggest barrier to entry of nearly all markets.

Wim Dejonghe, Allen & Overy global managing partner, said:

We are at the point where capital can reach anywhere on the planet. Executives identified over 100 different markets they are targeting for growth – UK execs alone are targeting 28 different countries.

Across Europe there has been a 50% increase in the number of markets people have invested in over the past five years. The opportunities are vast. The natural question that rises out of the noise of competing national regulatory regimes is are they capable of coping with the extent of globalisation or are they holding back its potential?

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