In the Telegraph, Vince Cable writes:
Britain is open for business. What we say to the emerging economies of the world is that, more than other Western countries, we welcome their investment, ideas, talent and visitors. We are not economic nationalists. We are not inward looking. That is a powerful message in São Paulo, Moscow, Mumbai and Shanghai.
In the article he concentrates on our trading relationship with China.
China is the new economic superpower and we must treat its re-emergence with respect: as an opportunity rather than a threat. It has been transformed in the last three decades since Deng Xiaoping opened up the economy to unlock his nation’s talents. Britain has the potential to benefit from Chinese growth and the flow of goods and services that has resulted. Our future prosperity will depend on it.
But if we are serious about trading more with countries such as China, then we must make sure our borders are as open as possible to genuine tourism, business visitors, investment and trade.
He is particularly critical of the bureaucracy surrounding applications for visas to the UK, which he compares unfavourably with the procedures elsewhere in Europe.
Some useful steps are being taken. From April we are cutting the amount of red tape that Chinese visitors encounter when entering the UK. However, I believe we can and must do more.
It is my job in government to champion British business, universities and science, all of which require that our border controls are administered with a minimum of fuss and bureaucracy. I spend much of my time talking to overseas businesses and encouraging them to invest in Britain and to feel welcome. That’s why I am so supportive of The Daily Telegraph’s campaign to simplify visas for Chinese visitors.
Immigration is an emotional subject and it is important that the public is reassured that it is under control. But the administration of it has to be business-like, supportive of economic growth and welcoming to genuine visitors. Britain can compete and win its share of global markets. But when the French and Germans have already rolled out the red carpet and are reaping the benefits, we cannot afford to lose out.
You can read the full article here.
* Mary Reid is the Monday Editor on Lib Dem Voice.