London - British Prime Minister David Cameron was on Friday to insist that the “re-shoring” of jobs from countries such as India and China could be a key factor in spurring European economic growth.
Cameron is due to tell the World Economic Forum being held in the Swiss town of Davos that Britain hopes to be at the forefront of attempts to bring back jobs that have moved East in recent years due to wage pressures.
Britain has recently seen thousands of jobs shifted to low-cost Asian rivals, including the outsourcing to Indian call centres of many large firms' customer service departments.
“For years the West has been written off,” Cameron is expected to tell delegates, according to extracts released by his Downing Street office.
“People say that we are facing some sort of inevitable decline.
“Whether it's the shift from manufacturing to services or the transfer from manual jobs to machines, the end point is the same dystopian vision - the East wins while the West loses; and the workers lose while the machines win.
“I don't believe it has to be this way.”
He will accept that globalisation presents “huge challenges” to western economies, but that jobs could start returning as Asian wages rise.
“Indeed if we make the right decisions, we may also see more of what has been a small but discernible trend where some jobs that were once offshored are coming back from East to West.”
He will advocate pro-business regulations and cheap energy from shale gas as potential drivers in reducing costs and luring jobs back to Europe.
“There is no doubt that when it comes to re-shoring in the US, one of the most important factors has been the development of shale gas which is flooring US energy prices with billions of dollars of energy cost savings predicted over the next decade,” he will say.
“Taken together, I believe these trends have the ability to be a fresh driver of growth in Europe too.
“I think there is a chance for Britain to become the 'Re-Shore nation'.”
As well as falling costs, firms will be keener to locate jobs in the West due to shorter supply chains and the proximity to consumer markets, he will argue.
Cameron will highlight a recent survey of small and medium sized businesses, which found that more than 1 in 10 has brought back to Britain some production in the past year. - Sapa-AFP