The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a sovereign state in Europe. It is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to its west and north, the North Sea to its east and the English Channel to its south. The UK is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The UK is the 22nd most populous country, with an estimated 64.1 million inhabitants. It is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. Its capital city is London, an important global city and financial centre with the second –largest urban area in Europe and the official language is English.

The UK is the world’s sixth largest economy by nominal GDP and tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. It remains a great power with considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific, and political influence internationally. The UK has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. It has been a member state of the European Union (EU); it is also a member of the Commonwealth Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G8, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The World Bank reports that it’s easier to do business in the UK than any other major European economy. The UK has one of the world’s leading financial centres – a major advantage when it comes to financing business expansion. It is easy to access professional business services such as international legal and accountancy firms. Four of the top ten law firms are British and six of the top ten accountancy firms.

The UK has a highly skilled labour force and is home to four of the top six universities globally. The London Stock Exchange is the fourth largest stock exchange in the world and the most international with listings from more than 70 companies with almost 3,100 companies.

The UK is already a large exporter and has the logistics, infrastructure and routes to help companies grow, not just in Europe but in high-growth markets around the world. It has a world-leading research and development environment where products can be developed and taken to the market quickly and efficiently.

Among the largest UK companies in the world are BP, HSBC, Barclays plc, Vodafone Group, Standard Chartered, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Diageo, BT Group, SABMiller, Prudential, Royal Bank of Scotland Group, G4S, British Airways.

The United Kingdom