Britain Must 'Upgrade Skills' To Face Asia Challenge

Britain needs to sharpen its skills, and not hide behind protectionism, if it wants to profit from the rising challenge from Asia, Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown said Sept. 13. Speaking to the Trades Union Congress (TUC) annual conference, Brown invited trade unions and business leaders to hold talks with the government to find ways of making Britain more enterprising.

Brown, who intends to visit China next month, said China and India were turning out more engineers, computer scientists and university graduates than the whole of Europe and the U.S. combined. "The answer lies not in protectionism, hoping Asia will go away, but in radically upgrading our skills, science and technology," he said. "Nothing in the next years is more important than preparing and equipping our nation for meeting and mastering these global challenges ahead."

Brown invited the TUC, Britain's biggest labour federation, and the business sector to "enter into a discussion" with the government "on how a more skilled, more adaptable and more enterprising Britain can make the right long-term decisions and succeed in the next stage of the global economy".

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005

TAGS: The Economy
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