Sir Andrew Cahn on World Crisis
Sir Andrew Cahn, the Chief Executive of the United Kingdom Trade & Investment (UKTI) was in Santo Domingo recently for a day of meetings with government and private sector to strengthen ties between the UK and the DR. "The role of UKTI is to help bring companies together," said Cahn. He pressed the point: "I see recovery from the present crisis will be export and investment-led." Cahn was the keynote speaker during the breakfast organized by the British Chamber of Commerce in Santo Domingo to mark the start of their activities for the year.
Cahn stressed there is an urgent "need for governments to avoid that the present financial, banking and soon fiscal crisis lead to a political crisis."
He urged the world "to get back to self-confident trading."
A strong supporter of globalization and liberalization, he stressed that the marketplace is changing and is more transparent and demanding, especially due to the prevalence of the Internet today. "Competition is everywhere." He says there is new emphasis on quality, price competition and people are seeking environmentally-friendly products and services. This means improving the quality of education and skills of workers needs to be every nation's priority. "Nothing is more important than education and training throughout a lifetime," he said.
He has a clear idea of the role of government. "The role of government is to set the right conditions for the business sector. That it be easy to hire and fire people, that it cut time and red tape to set up a company, that it facilitate the marketplace," he told his audience of business people. He says to achieve this for the UK, at UKTI, since 2006 he has incorporated leading businessmen into the UKTI, so these may bring dynamism, organizational skills and knowledge to the effort.
"My profound conviction is that business is key. No government, servant, minister adds a penny of wealth to a country. Wealth is created by business. All parks, roads, hospitals and prosperity of a country are paid by the wealth created by business," he said.
His words of advice: "Need to keep up the nerve. Look at the long-term. We can live through the downturn by keeping on investing."
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