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Cameron wants more investment deals

7 years ago77 views

ODN

ODN


The Prime Minister has demanded that British foreign policy be focused more on winning trade and investment deals.

David Cameron has announced that he was appointing a civil servant with expertise in business to head the Foreign Office and that a commercial director would also be recruited.

He is expected to go further with the effort to "refashion" foreign policy by opening up more senior Whitehall and diplomatic positions to outside experts rather than career civil servants.

On the latest leg of his first US visit as PM, Mr Cameron was welcomed to New York by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The pair grabbed hot dogs from a street vendor. Mr Cameron had a plain one but the seller ignored questions from reporters while they ate.

Later on Wednesday evening the Prime Minister addressed business leaders at a private dinner on the Upper East Side.

He told them: "We're coming out of recession. We've had this appalling banking crisis. The public are feeling battered and bruised by everything that's happened.

"They are asking fundamental questions about our market economies. And as politicians we need to explain what the right path ahead is for our countries.

"So those of us who support the free market economy need to explain how we are going to chart the path for success in the future. For me it's about three things: lower deficits, freer trade and responsible business."

Next week he will lead a trade delegation to India as part of what he says is a "messianic" drive to secure the foreign deals to help push economic recovery in the UK.

The new Permanent Secretary at the FCO will be Simon Fraser, who has been the top civil servant at the Department for Business since May 2009 and is described by Mr Cameron as "Britain's leading expert on trade in the Civil Service".

He has already worked at the FCO as its senior official on international economic issues and spent four years as chief of staff to Peter Mandelson when he was European trade commissioner.

It is thought that the post Mr Fraser will vacate - Permanent Secretary at the Department for Business - could be one of those targeted by the Government as a potential opening for an outside figure.

"I want to refashion British foreign policy, the Foreign Office, to make us much more focused on the commercial aspects... making sure we are demonstrating Britain is open for business," the PM told reporters.

"I think it is a big opportunity. As we come out of recession and into recovery we have got to pay our way in the world and I want to reorientate the Foreign Office to be much more commercially-minded."

He went on: "I want us to be much more focused on winning orders for British business overseas, attracting inward investment back into Britain.

"I want to make sure that whenever any British minister, however junior, is meeting any counterpart, however junior or senior and for however short a time, they have always got a very clear list of the commercial priorities we are trying to achieve, whether that is pushing forward British orders, attracting inward investment or promoting bilateral or unilateral trade talks.

"This is extremely important for Britain as we come out of recession and go into recovery."

At the end of his two-day visit to the US, the PM was also scheduled to hold wide-ranging talks with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.