I have been in Brussels to highlight the importance of our Wales’s relationship with Europe. I have met key Commissioners and showcasing Welsh produce at a St David’s Day reception for representatives from European institutions and the business community. We produce food that is up there with the best, from our lamb through to the likes of the award winning Anglesey Sea Salt. We must be proud of what we have to offer and sell this to the world.
Across the Atlantic some of the most powerful people in the world will be experiencing Welsh food when the UN Security Council is served a Welsh breakfast at the United Nations as part of our ‘Wales Week New York’. China will be a major part of our efforts with events in Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing. Chongqing will host its own very own ‘Wales Week’. Activity will include Higher Education and Further Education promotional events involving universities and Further Education institutions from Wales, student workshops, and business seminars promoting the Energy & Environment, Creative Industries and Advanced Manufacturing & Materials sectors in Wales.
Closer to home Londoners looking to try a taste of Wales will be able to attend showcase events at stores such as John Lewis and Waitrose and there will be award winning Welsh food and drink during a three day market of Welsh producers on the South Bank. We will also be promoting Wales’ financial and creative industries through events in London.
I am aware that there are those that are critical of such activity. However, it is essential. We can’t increase Wales’ prosperity by ignoring the wider world. Given the current economic climate it is important that we do all we can to promote Wales on the global stage and make our own opportunities.
All of us in Wales have to be confident, bold and proud of what we have to offer to the world. St David’s Day allows us to promote Wales’ distinctive culture with a history. I want to make people from places as diverse as China through to America to know more about whom we are and what we have to offer.