Business Minister Edwina Hart has announced a new programme of 10 overseas trade missions that will see the Welsh Dragon flying high to support Welsh businesses across the world.
The Welsh Government will lead Welsh businesses to key strategic overseas markets with the objectives of raising Wales’ profile overseas and increasing international trade and export opportunities. The itinerary for 2012-13 will include multi-sector trade missions to Japan, North America, Gulf States, China, Turkey and Germany.
The initial trade mission programme for 2012-13 is as follows:
- USA - Washington, Boston/Chicago - September 2012
- Gulf - Qatar & UAE - September 2012
- Canada - Toronto & Montreal - October 2012
- China - Beijing & Shanghai - October 2012
- USA - San Francisco & Los Angeles - October 2012
- Saudi Arabia - Jeddah & Riyadh - November 2012
- Japan - Tokyo - November 2012
- China - Hong Kong & Chongqing - February/March 2013
- Turkey - February 2013
- Germany - March 2013
Mrs Hart was addressing an audience of Welsh business people at the ‘Exporting for Growth’ event at Cardiff’s City Hall. The event was also attended by UK Trade and Industry Minister Lord Green.
Mrs Hart urged Welsh businesses to take the opportunity to grow their existing markets and pledged to provide support to help Welsh firms develop their capabilities for international trade.
Recent export figures showed that Welsh exports for 2011 increased by 13.8% over the previous year. The value of exports during this period increased by £1,629 million compared to 2010, with increases to both EU and non-EU countries of 13.9% and 13.7% respectively.
"We are enhancing our trade and investment efforts in these difficult economic circumstances and have established a major projects team to lead on trade and investment. There are many businesses across Wales already grasping the opportunity to grow existing markets and we will help these in every way we can. We will also continue to work closely with UKT&I on increasing exports.
"Trade missions are an excellent platform to further develop the profile of Wales across a range of sectors – from food to tourism, and increase bilateral trade and investment. By encouraging and supporting companies to export we can develop sustainable economic growth, and business in Wales has a major contribution to make."
Mrs Hart added:
"Welsh companies will now be given the opportunity to target key strategic markets in destinations such as China, India, Japan, Canada and the United States. This is truly a world wide offering and together with our targeted Overseas Exhibition Programme, Welsh business will be able to show to the world the strength of its commitment to grow, innovate and produce.
"We are already known globally as a small smart country with an extraordinary work ethic. Now we have the opportunity to further exhibit that drive and determination that we are all so proud of, and show the World what Welsh business can thrive in global markets."