Business Roundtable is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies working to promote a thriving economy and expanded opportunity for all Americans through sound public policy.
Canada and Britain: Outcompeting the U.S.?
John T. Chambers, Chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems, Inc., has been in London this week overseeing his company's role as the provider of network infrastructure to the 2012 Olympic Games. It's an amazing story of technological progress and investment that will pay off after the games, as well.
Chambers discussed the Olympics, his company's performance, and the U.S. economy in an interview with Fox Business' Liz Claman on Monday. Chambers said his customers are reporting that the U.S. economy is not turning up but is showing a little more balance and consistency. Claman then asked Chambers if it's possible to change the psychology in the United States that has businesses reluctant to invest. Yes, you can, Chambers responded.
Claman: Is there anything the U.S. should be doing righto inspire better growth?
Chambers: It's interesting, Canada is the best place to do business in the world. I've met with Prime Minister Harper, members of both political parties up there.
Claman: Why is it the best?
Chambers: Because it's got a great education system. It's got a very good immigration system to attract the best and the brightest from the world, and understand that that also helps all of us who are locals get the jobs. You partner with government to achieve common goals. They've got great start-ups, etc.
What the Prime Minister is doing here, and what Cameron outlined in his speech [at the Global Investment Conference] last week -- and I had the fortune to meet with him afterwards -- he's outlined a very pro-business environment, pro-job creation. He holds companies accountable if they make mistakes, and you always should, but he's talking about how Britain is great for business, and it really is.
When I met with him a year and a half ago, it was in January of 2011, he said, "John, I understand the problems with the U.S. tax policy, you can't bring back your earnings from overseas. He says, spend it here and I'll help you do it successfully." Two months later I acquired a $5 billion company here.
Chambers praised the Cameron government's focus on partnerships to support technology, innovation and training.
Cameron basically says, how do I create the best place in the world for job creation and for business to want to be a part of? We're going to bet big on the U.K. But we're doing this because it's so pro-business, so much job creation. He's the best example of it. That's what we need in the U.S.
Note the reference to the disadvantages of America's worldwide tax system. To improve its global competitive position, Britain switched to a territorial system in 2009. (BRT presentation: The Case for Corporate Tax Reform)