Because of the small scale of individual investments, their low leverage and, in some cases, their experience of relocation because of arbitrary shifts in Syria's economic climate in the 1990s, the country's businessmen are 'quite fleet of foot', said David Butter of the Royal Institute for International Affairs.
Sir John's intervention, in a speech to Chatham House, is likely to be welcomed by Downing Street but will be met with anger by parts of the Conservative Party.
Speaking at Chatham House on Thursday, he said: 'I don't like referenda in a parliamentary system, but this referendum could heal many old sores and have a cleansing effect on politics.'
Speaking to the Chatham House think tank, he said: 'At present, we are drifting towards and possibly through the European exit. We need a renegotiation and a referendum endorsement of it.'
John Major knows a thing or two about naughty Tory MPs and Europe. So David Cameron would do well to listen to his Chatham House speech today in which he advised the PM to give up on the 'irreconcilables who are prepared to bring own any government or any Prime Minister in support of their opposition to the European Union'.
The history is that it was ever closer union of the peoples of Europe... But I was very clear in the speech that I made in Chatham House that it's not the lodestar by which Europe has navigated for some time, or will navigate in the future, said Douglas Alexander.
In a strongly pro-EU speech given at Chatham House on Thursday afternoon, Sir John said that while the EU was far from perfect, to leave would be to 'jump into a void'.
Speaking at Chatham House, Sir John, making a rare intervention into contemporary politics, made a powerful case for Britain staying in the EU having renegotiated a looser, more trade-based relationship with Brussels.
The former Tory leader highlighted the party's bitter divisions over Europe in a rare speech at Chatham House. Sir John admitted that he objected to referendums in principle but claimed that the only alternative was 'drifting' towards the EU exit.
Speaking at Chatham House, the former prime minster told lawmakers that they shouldn’t think 'offering advice' to Cameron would lead other countries to 'hear the strength of feeling and immediately capitulate.' Such behavior means Cameron 'would be seen to be acting under duress,' Major said.
Sir John Major told an audience of experts and journalists at Chatham House, 'Being inside the EU can often be frustrating; but outside, we would be at a serious competitive disadvantage.'