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COMMENT BEYOND20


Methilno more–an fDi journey


THE PUBLISHING DIRECTOR RECALLS THE HISTORY OF BOTH FDI AND fDi


exporting from the Forth Field, itself one of the biggest fields in Europe lying underneath the estuary of the River Forth. Following the coal closures of the mid-to-late 1960s, the mining and shipping industries collapsed, which — coupled with the decline of the fishing indus- try—led to 80% unemployment. Sadly, the town, along with other towns


along the coast, did not regenerate quickly. However, since it had the logistics and infra- structure, including the railway tracks and the shipping harbours, it ended up creating wealth again a decade or so later, with the advent of oil operations in the North Sea. We subsequently moved to England, to a


planned new town: Letchworth Garden City in Hertfordshire. At school, I noticed that at the start of a new term, there would often be a new American, Japanese or French classmate. But theywere only ever there for two years at a time. This was because their parents — and in those days, mostly fathers—had been posted there. Yes, it’s another FDI story. Many of these


children’s parentsworked for BorgWarner, aUS gear manufacturer for automatic transmis- sions in cars. One day we had a school trip to the BorgWarner factory in our geography les- son andwere given a tour by the father of one of the American girls in my class. Being already a keen geographer, I asked himmy first FDI ques- tion at the end:why Letchworth? The answer: it is specifically positioned to


be good for distribution just outside London and there was a crane manufacturer, Jones Cranes, next door. In short: skills, geography and proximity for transporting to the US.


Planned economyandregeneration Fast-forwardto the 1990s. As Europe startedrede- veloping and emerging markets started opening up,newdrivers of FDI started emerging. I remember visiting Alba—then the biggest


directly, fromone country to a foreign one, for thousands of years. But the development of coherent strategies, practices, protocols, sur- veillance and accompanying data, only started in the past 30 years or so, with a fewexceptions. Over that time, it has also affected people’s lives, upbringing and sense of pride.


F 26


Memoriesof FDI I grewupin East Fife in the 1960s in a port town called Methil. It was immortalised in the song ‘Letter to America’ by The Proclaimers as the devastated, defiant Scottish town that many moved away from. Methil was the largest coal port in Europe,


ANGUS CUSHLEY


oreign direct investment (FDI) has always been a part of the changing landscape of our world. Investments have been made


aluminiumsmelter in the world outside China —right in the middle of the desert in Bahrain. It was a symbol of the need for diversification, which is something you see elsewhere in the Middle East. Diversificationwas a driving factor in the first free zone in the region too: Jebel Ali Free Zone. This too was a planned diversifica- tion taking advantage of the UAE’s position. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the col-


lapse of the Soviet bloc, eastern Europe went through a deep regeneration. On one hand, there were the privatisations, which were sul- lied somewhat by the oligarchs. But there was also a need to redefine Soviet-era industry. Towns, cities and countries started think-


ing: “We can better ourselves, create wealth, create jobs, make ourselves more important and give ourselves some credibility in the world by attracting businesses.” So the regen- eration of eastern Europe started transitioning out of great state-driven schemes to a sort of more private, individualistic style. Around that, we started to see some more elaborated strategies, standards and protocols. It all


www.fDiIntelligence.com December 2020/January 2021


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