[A Global Visionaries Event – Sir Roger Carr] How UK PLCs Need to Adapt in order to Drive International Growth

Published on 2012-11-21

On Wednesday the 7th of November, The British Chamber of Commerce hosted a luncheon with Sir Roger Carr, President of the UK’s premier business lobbying organisation, the Confederation of British Industries (CBI), to give a keynote speech.


On Wednesday the 7th of November, The British Chamber of Commerce hosted a luncheon with Sir Roger Carr, President of the UK’s premier business lobbying organisation, the Confederation of British Industries (CBI), to give a keynote speech. The purpose of the session was twofold, firstly to give British Chamber members an update on the business outlook in the UK and secondly, to build a more accurate picture of British business in China.

At present the UK media is presenting a depressing picture of British business. While most would agree that business is not easy at the moment, Sir Carr was also quick to point out that things could be much worse. What is more worrying is what could happen should a complete Eurozone meltdown transpire and it is this incumbent threat that continues to undermine confidence and inhibit ambition within British companies.

It is not inactivity but a distinct lack of energy and ambition that the CBI President feels is missing from many UK companies’ growth plans. Sir Roger Carr urged business to seize the opportunity that lies in developing international markets.

To compound matters the UK government has sometimes been slow and clumsy delivering policy and this has unfortunately hidden some of its more positive achievements. A decrease in both regulation and corporation tax has created a more open and attractive business environment over the past two years. However overall actions have still not matched policy promises made when the coalition came to power in 2010.

With all this in mind, business is increasingly turning attention to China to find real growth. Despite strong Chinese development, the actual task of entering the market is still a daunting prospect for many. The first step is always the hardest one therefore Britain requires a collaborative and concerted effort (from big companies, government and support organisations) to attract more small and medium sized enterprises. As a country, we need to do more to assist smaller companies to enter new markets.

China certainly has a major role to play in the future so British business needs to think hard about how best to position itself to facilitate access to and take advantage of the potential here.