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Chinese Takeaway?

I can't say about I'm happy about the current bowing and scraping (or 'kowtowing' in the word borrowed from the phrase 'kau tau' in Cantonese) to the Chinese by our government.

The welcome bestowed on Chinese leader Xi Jinping grates on a day that has seen more redundancies announced in our own steel industry, with cheap steel dumped from China as their own demand has slowed down being blamed as having a serious impact. Add to that human rights issues in many regions such as Tibet, the undermining of the special arrangements agreed jointly between Britain and China for Hong Kong, frequent episodes of cyber-espionage, and you have to ask the question is this the sort of partner with whom you want to develop a close relationship.

Yes, taking a top line view, the supposed £30 billion of business and trade sounds great. But at what price? Should we not be supporting our own industries to compete, encouraging our own people to develop their businesses? Yes, some jobs may appear in some areas where our new Chinese partners are building new generation nuclear power stations(that in itself is a bit of a worry). But I bet few of them will be heading towards Scunthorpe, Redcar, and Lanarkshire which are facing economic ruin due to the loss of their steel-making plants. All the talk about a 'Northern Powerhouse' will be sounding a bit hollow on the streets of Scunthorpe tonight.

The problem is that fundamentally this government has an inherent down on our own big industrial manufacturing. Certainly back to the days of the Miners' strikes back in the '70's, if not before. I would argue that if we had invested more in our core and strategic industries back then and continued to do so since we would now be significantly stronger economically. That is how you fundamentally create your wealth. Germany never stopped doing this, manufacturing there is held in far more respect there than here, and look how strong their economy has been over the years.

I have no problem with trading with China. But I can't help thinking that as their economy has slowed down they are looking to spread their wings overseas and by investing into a willing - and I would say gullible - partner they are seeing big benefits themselves as they seek to increase their power and influence around the globe. As a country we have no long-term industrial strategy for developing our own industries and the Chinese have been able to exploit this. We have no guarantees they will use manufacturers in this country to supply their plants and I fear that ultimately this is going to be bad news for us all.

This could be the biggest Chinese takeaway ever....


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