Cameron talks globalisation ahead of G8 summit

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has discussed the challenges and opportunities of globalisation in the run up to the 39th G8 summit in Northern Ireland.

Speaking at London Gateway - a major new development under construction on the north bank of the River Thames that will provide global links for UK firms - Cameron said Britain would not “hide away from the world”, but will not “give in to the world”, as he emphasised the importance of national interests in the context of global ambitions.

Outlining the poignancy of his location as an emblem of the UK’s ambitions in the globalised market, he said: “We are in a battle for Britain’s future. And it is a battle we’ve got to fight on two fronts: at home, really ambitious about competing; and abroad, ambitious about pursuing our national interests and standing up for our values.”

The hard-lined rhetoric continued as the Prime Minister highlighted the UK’s international strengths as a centre for innovation, an export hub and a friendly business environment.  Corporation tax is to be set at the lowest rate in the G20 and the planning system is also undergoing fundamental reform to improve the country’s competitiveness. Big capital projects, such as high-speed rail and London Gateway, are similarly key in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI).

Role of emerging economies

As well as improving the business environment at home, Cameron is looking to engage and connect with the fastest-growing parts of the world. Exported goods to Brazil have gone up by half over the last three years, doubled in volume to China and increased by 133% to Russia.

There is also strong growth credentials for UK firms looking to expand into these accelerating markets. In Indonesia, the cars on the road have quadrupled in a decade. In China, the Shanghai skyline, with its towering office blocks, was built in just two decades. A few years back they built a 15-storey hotel there in just six days. “On the seventh day, I rather hope they rested but, frankly, I doubt it,” Cameron quipped.

Role of technology

An era-shifting change in technology around the world means countries must be equipped to harness modernisation to compete in the global market.

As one writer puts it, “Ten years ago Facebook didn’t exist. Twitter was a sound. The cloud was in the sky. 4G was a parking space. And Skype for most people was a typo.” London is putting a large focus on technological innovation with the so-called Silicon Roundabout up and running and incentives being offered to ambitious start ups to build internationally.

“We see competition that is more intense than ever before, involving more countries than ever before, who are more ambitious and determined than ever before,” Cameron said. “That is why I call it a global race.”

Role of cross-border relationships

Engagement and connection with fast-growing areas is a crucial part of Cameron’s plans, although re-visiting old relationships is also important. Connecting with the Commonwealth, the US and keeping the EU on side through strategic diplomacy is central to the UK’s interests, the Prime Minister argued, adding that Britain is one of three European countries represented in every single country in ASEAN and has the largest diplomatic network in India of any nation on the planet.

“This is about boldly pursuing our interests – not by withdrawing from the world, but engaging with it, and that is the same attitude that we’re bringing to this G8 presidency this year. We’ve seized this chance, not for us some turgid communiqués with little purpose,” he concluded.

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