Justin Fox knows what
needs to be done to keep New York competitive with London as a financial
The immigration people at Heathrow are polite to non-UK-citizens and usually
get them through the line very quickly. I know that from personal experience.
Meanwhile, I’ve heard from lots of foreigners that coming through immigration
at Kennedy (and elsewhere in the U.S.) is an excruciatingly slow and often
demeaning process. This is potentially disastrous for the long-term prospects
of both New York and the U.S. in general. And while I’m being sort of jokey
in the rest of this post, I’m dead serious about this: Discouraging foreign
businesspeople from visiting the U.S., which we now effectively do, is a potentially
Quite right. In fact, it’s a much, much bigger issue than putting more and
friendlier immigration officers on staff at JFK. The really big issue is allowing
business people to visit NYC on business in the first place.
Many international executives simply can’t get a visa to visit the US, or if
they can it takes months. This applies especially to businessmen from what is
arguably the world’s largest economy, China. If NYC wants to remain relevant,
it has to start looking west rather than east, and taking full advantage of
the US’s Pacific Rim status. That means encouraging, not discouraging, human
business links with China.
Have you ever wondered why Hank Paulson spent so much time flying
back and forth to China when he was CEO of Goldman Sachs? Yes, the country was
important to him, but it wasn’t that important. Rather, it was the
one country where he had to go there, because they were simply incapable of