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Cut red tape for small firms, Cable urges Canary Wharf EU conference

PUBLISHED: 01:56 29 November 2013 | UPDATED: 01:57 29 November 2013

Business Secretary Vince Cable wants to cut red tape to help small businesses export more goods to the American markets, he told delegates at a conference in Canary Wharf.

A trade partnership between Europe and America would be good for growing enterprises, delegates to the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe heard yesterday.

“We need to move from red tape to red carpet for business,” he said. “This would help the small firms which don’t have lawyers to cut through the layers of bureaucracy.”

A trans-Atlantic trade deal could open up a market of 800 million consumers on the two continents by 2018, the conference was told.

But big business would also reap the benefits if trading were “harmonised” with mutual standards and regulation.

Lending support for the State Secretary’s vision was eBay, the internet consumer-to-consumer marketplace with more than 300,000 small and medium businesses in Europe.

Samuel Laurinkari from eBay told the delegates: “Around 90 per cent of small enterprises export their goods through us. Access to global markets will help them grow.”

The call to relax bureaucracy adds fuel to the fiery debate on Britain’s continued membership of the ‘European club’.

Antony Hook, standing in next May’s EU elections, said: “We’re looking at 400,000 new jobs—this underlines the importance of Britain staying in the EU.”

The three day congress at the East Wintergarden and Clifford Chance HQ, which goes on till Saturday, is thrashing out the Lib Dem manifesto for next year’s EU elections.


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