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2017
Asia Needs more Dialogue
Solutions to urban pollution may prove complex
Spread of ESGs could herald new global movement
Investing in quality education is imperative if India wants to reap demographic dividends
China needs to lead in new multi-stakeholder world
China’s B&R initiative leading a resurgence of Asia
Education is key - but long-term: Can we survive?
New wave of robots will be beneficial to all
China needs to continue with its ‘heavy lifting’
Time is right for Chinese firms to invest in Europe
Robots to the rescue for China?
Asian Multinationals are Going Global, But to Where?
China ratchets forward with energy efforts
China’s calm necessary for globalization push
Bridging managerial gaps involves trust-building
China well-placed to power its future through green technology advances
China's new 'springtime' is here
2016
China’s moves show it’s banking on the future
Mindset for action at the G20 summit will be determined by Chinese presidency
Chinese head-hunting intensifies for rare managers that can steer overseas firms
US talk of isolation jars with growing links in Europe and Asia
Electoral rhetoric on global trade not in sync with reality
Is it time to be prudent and consider austerity policies again?
What will we do if we have no oil?
Unlock talent by finding the right fit for a person
The benefits are real and tangible
Trade along China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ won’t succeed without the currency of trust
Reasons for optimism about the long term
2015
Can big oil go green and win?
Poorer Nations Could Sway Climate Talks
Combating Idleness and Deprivation
How China can be a model of food sustainability for the developing world
Kyoto II – Is it a Done Deal?
A meeting of the two largest economic powers
Why China will experience a 'soft' landing
Beware of superstitions
The Elephant and Dragon move ahead
G-7 target on fossil fuels raises many questions
Why Battle for Net Neutrality in the US Matters Globally
China’s resurgence – the ‘normal new’
Wanted: A managerial culture that embraces cultural differences
China's early education plan a smart investment in the future
The New Normal for China and India
2014
China's infrastructure push offers a sure track to better growth
US-China climate pact a good start, but not quite enough
Rethink the human’s place in the ‘digital revolution’
China springs a carbon surprise
Infrastructure - the invisible hand in full view
Dialogue vital for survival of Iraqi nation
China must nurture a new generation of beautiful minds
Great expectations in China and India
GM Cereals – The Pros and Corns
Time to be Honest about Our Energy Prospects
Weathering the Storm of Climate Change
Making a Big Decision? Beware of Your Biases
West Deserves Better Logistics Infrastructure
Digital Currencies do Represent the Future
From 'Printed' Houses to Wooden Skyscrapers
It’s time to bail out our schools, not our firms
Solution to India’s housing shortage – print new ones!
And the most promising green technologies of 2014 are ...
Transport infrastructure key to domestic, export growth
Oil stopgaps: Not worth risking
2013
Why the US should grant Edward Snowden amnesty
May we be more optimistic!
China headed for another massive social experiment?
A dialogue that worked
Yes, politicians deserve vacations - because we benefit
NPOs, NGOs invaluable as creators of dialogue
Look closer and ask: Is America reinventing itself?
Boston bombings case underlines need for dialogue
Millennium Development Goals or own goals?
As usual it's about balance - and timing - of course
Chinese strategists make right moves for growth
2012
Preparing for tomorrow
Austerity or growth?
Japan in danger of becoming 'just a place to fly over'
Beware of the business cycle?
An inconvenient truth
Limited offer sale: Buy a country
Where did our money go?
Leading from behind - a year of elections is almost over
Driving towards a green future
Waiting for springtime
Preserve or Perish
Startlingly similar Asia policy for Obama, Romney
Globalisation remains an irresistible trend
Google has the edge in smartphone war
U.S. Braces for China's Rise
Mankind’s General Scourge
The summer holidays are over and nothing has changed!
Put the hidden trillions to work
Making sense of India’s woes and wonders
Storm in a teacup!
Let’s give bad bankers a venue to admit their sins
News is about depth, not puff or velocity
Booming India, but too few toilets
Delayed Court decisions doesn't mean one may continue to play 'Great Game'
We need media to reflect on data and offer public a balanced view
Big polluters can lead in forging common purpose
The weighty issue of choosing a leader
EU-India Relations - Facing similar challenges
Educating with a goal
The Judicial Malaise
We are growing out, but not growing up
EU´s retrenchment enigma
Urbulence in the Eurozone and the effect on SMEs
Skolkovo May Help Russia to Diversify
Make things more effective
Tapping into the Commonwealth connection
Innovative models for public finance
Facebook revolution but Indian style
The feel-good factor
Asian investors - a private equity opportunity
India needs to be taller and stronger
China´s low sales volume...
Nations playing leapfrog
Shafts of sunlight
What webs we weave
As performers go to Davos, the circus steals the show
Can we control the politicians?
 
2011
Europe’s reminiscence
China firms should go for win-win in overseas ventures
Of procrastination...
Making sense of profiteering
Truth about financial mess must be laid bare
Small is also beautiful
China can help Europe with debt crisis
Excising the cancer of global corruption
Education, a critical asset
Arab uprisings set in motion forces of creative destruction
A new era of change
We must ensure better education for all
Beijing wary of bankrolling a lost cause
Asean's re-emergence as a local and global leader
Why India's Role in the Global Economy is Still Work in Progress
Its the leadership, stupid!
Reverse globalisation: The new buzzword
The benefits are real and tangible
By Frank-Jürgen Richter
New Statesman, March 3, 2016
 

Yes, the European Union may feel distant to small businesses. But don't write it off

The Leave.EU campaign has gained no small ally today in the small business sector, after 200 small business owners to sign a letter in support of leaving the EU. “We employ the majority of the workforce,” the letter claims, and yet they find the EU “tone deaf” to their instincts for flexibility, adaptability and, above all, competitiveness.

Self-interest is said to be a major force in global markets and campaigners for the two sides are both seeking to play up the vote’s influence over the UK’s prosperity and standing among the international competition. The principle is that the UK is voting to feather its own nest, one way or the other.

Yet there is more to success in business than simply being competitive. Entrepreneurs apply themselves because they have targets to achieve and personal missions to succeed.

Likewise, the UK as a global business destination needs to be able to put on a spectacle with the world’s second-largest film industry or by staging the 2012 Olympic Games with an untarnished safety record, hosting the second International Festival for Business in June this year or advancing the medical and technological sectors with an excellent record on scientific research and intellectual property. Self-interest is not the only force behind these achievements; international collaboration is essential.

That is why it is important to highlight that it is not just individual firms that might lose out, but that the UK as a whole would be diminished by a vote to leave the EU. This is predominantly because the flows of foreign direct investment into this country rely heavily on the UK advocating Europe’s future.

Statistics show that businesses, on the whole, do not share the net benefits of EU membership equally. In fact, if the UK’s businesses had one vote each, we would almost definitely face departure from the EU.

The net benefits of the UK’s membership are felt mostly by large businesses trading on large scale globally and, by the same token, with the EU. But Britain’s small businesses comprise almost 99 per cent of the names registered at Companies House.

Big businesses have invested far more in the Union and hold it in far greater esteem. They employ 40 per cent of the workforce and, crucially, yield the lion’s share of turnover at 53 per cent.

Many big businesses also rely heavily on talent from Europe to fill gaps in their workforce. Today, an email sent to all of Rolls-Royce staff, encouraging them to support membership of the EU in June, emphasises that free movement between the UK and Europe “allows the rapid transfer of expert knowledge”.

Rolls-Royce’s company-wide email also complains of the burden of trade tariff renegotiations. If self-interest is the greatest force in commerce, then Britain has no reason to feel confident about parting with the EU because the member states will have little incentive to renegotiate trade deals in the near future.

Individually, our trading partners have no interest in engaging with the UK over other trade partners and trade tariffs could, Lord Mandelson estimated this week, increase by over 10 per cent. Leaders of small businesses are more reliant on domestic trade than on trade with the wider world and, to them, the EU’s regulations are exigent and bureaucratic. Culturally, the UK differs from Europe, viewing the concentration of power and decision-making with distrust. British consumers have a preference for small businesses and personalised service in the business world, and view large networks in international politics with little envy, accustomed as they are to being a small island with soft – and, at times in history, hard – power extending disproportionately far beyond its shores.

However, the EU is far from irrelevant or costly to the UK’s position in the world. It is not by choice, but by co-operation that the UK is one of the leading destinations for global businesses targeting Europe. The UK is Europe’s most popular destination for foreign direct investment and it is a key partner for North American tech giants and Asian banks looking to establish a European headquarters.

Economic growth, the provision of jobs and the advanced infrastructure for innovation and R&D all gain substantial support from the EU. According to Unesco, the UK received a fifth of all EU funds for scientific research, almost double its initial financial contribution and a huge net benefit.

Some of these net gains go to regular people, with UK research programmes into genomics, integrated healthcare and infrastructure engineering benefiting everybody. Some of the benefits go to small firms too, particularly high-tech manufacturers working in the supply chain for niche, advanced industries.

One example is Formula One: most Formula One cars are manufactured near Silverstone by a mass of highly specialised manufacturers whose innovative solutions and manufacturing techniques have been developed at a large scale, with help from the European Research Area.

The UK is taking an ever-greater share of foreign direct investment, with FDI growing by 50 per cent in 2014/15, a period when the total global value of FDI fell. The UK has a competitive streak but it would be wrong to believe that self-interest compels us to gamble outside of the EU. If the UK wishes to remain in its place on the global business map, it should instead talk about how it can become more involved in global collaborations.

Frank Jürgen-Richter is founder and chairman of Horasis. Horasis will present the Horasis Global Meeting as the inaugural event of the second International Festival for Business in Liverpool this June.

 


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