I thank Alf Oldman for re-blogging an interesting Economist article on UK exports to China.
David Cameron, having upset the Chinese for the 5th time by seeing the Dalai Lama in a joint meeting with Nick Clegg, has had £8 billion gbp in trade and contracts held up for months, and only now has £2 billion gbp of that been released due to work by the Foreign Office behind the scenes, with David Cameron scheduled to visit the Chinese in September 1, a month before Boris and his Trade delegation who will arrive in Beijing in October.
Chancellor Merkel, President Hollande, and the Italian President, all seem to be able to deal effectively with the Chinese and run countries which export to them; in Germany’s case, exporting large numbers of luxury cars, engineering equipment and services, marine equipment and branded merchandise.
The French do well with their wine, champagne and with joint ventures on vineyards in both China and France, whilst wealthy Chinese woman buy Italian fashions, handbags and designer shoes whilst Ferrari, Maserati, Bugatti and Lamborghini sell outrageously priced sports-cars.
The UK under David Cameron sells next to nothing to the Chinese and seems not to be interested in preparing the UK to deal with them.
David Cameron is the Basil Fawlty of Downing Street, without “Manuel” of Barcelona to shout at, who prefers to be an arms salesman for BAE Defense Systems to Arab dictators, whilst ignoring everything else.
Why are we still teaching children Welsh when Mandarin, Portuguese, German, Spanish and Urdu are the useful languages for the future?
Why do we make it so expensive and difficult for wealthy Chinese tourists to come here; because of UK Home Secretary, Mrs May’s insistence on separate finger-printing and visas for the UK, which failed to sign the Schengen Agreement?
Currently, Paris, Rome, Milan, the Amalfi Coast, and Florence, get 7 to 10 times the visitors from China that London does, yet still David Cameron does nothing, even though out of 3.2 million middle-class Chinese tourists the UK’s share via China’s biggest travel agency is just 3.2%.
The shoe industry in Northampton has revived itself by producing top end mens’ shoes for the growing number of Russian oligarchs who live in London and Totteridge but this is down to the efforts of the directors of those iconic shoe firms.
The UK has market leadership in a number of key areas such as biotech, nanotech, certain elements of financial services, risk management, farming methods and high tech engineering. We also are quite good at management training and higher education and our style of delivery suits the Chinese temperament in ways that some American training does not. To sell these services, we need to employ Chinese and Mandarin speaking people in this country, not just in China and websites for UKTI and LEPS need to be in Mandarin, plus all the languages of the countries we need to be exporting to, particularly in South America, and places like Columbia, where we built the railway system and are actually liked as opposed to Americans who are detested.
We also need a much bigger export salesforce, perhaps quadruple the size of the present one, ideally inside of a Parliament with at least two thirds of its number speaking Mandarin via Pimsleur style fast language learning courses.
To achieve this, our schools, the attitudes of stick-in-the-mud company directors, whose marketplaces extend to an area no bigger than the territory of my neighbour’s black cat, “Beckham” and the attitudes of misguided ministers like Mrs May, all need to change, if we are to have any hope of success in exporting.
Above all, we need a hard-working Prime Minister, who understands that to get inward investment and jobs there is a need to engage with people who are different, eliminate barriers to travel for wealthy tourists, and stop imagining that the world owes us a living.
That ideal man is probably London Mayor, Boris Johnson, who should be brought forward to replace David Cameron now, rather than waiting for the eventual electoral oblivion to which Cameron will lead the Conservative Party.