Barack Obama warned to steer clear of protectionist policies

UK business leaders and employer groups have welcomed Barack Obama’s victory in the American presidential election, but warn that the US must continue to work with international business for the good of the global economy.

Richard Lambert, the CBI’s director-general, said: “It is seductive, but wrong, to think that American jobs and American wealth can be protected by measures such as imposing trade tariffs [taxes on imports and exports] and implementing ‘Buy America’ policies [buying American-only products],” he said.

A spokesman for the manufacturers’ body EEF said UK businesses were worried the US would go down an inward-facing route to survive a recession.

“The crucial issue for UK business as far as the new administration is concerned is the avoidance of any moves towards protectionism. This would ultimately be damaging for employers at a time of already great uncertainty,” he said.

Meanwhile, a survey conducted by the leadership network Leaders in London found that 85% of 1,024 UK managers backed Obama over his rival John McCain.

Obama was also credited with having sound economic judgement by 73% of respondents, compared with just 41% for McCain, and received similar results for vision, as well as energy and drive.

Nearly 90% of the respondents also predicted the Labour Party would lose the next general election.

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