Latest figures released by HM Revenue and Customs show that exports from Wales have increased by 43 per cent since devolution in 1999 - compared with an UK average increase of 26 per cent over the same period.
Welsh exports for year to June were up 1.0 per cent on the previous four quarters to reach a total of £9.2 bilion. ( The UK equivalent figure was down 11.6 per cent.) Welsh performance was driven by a strong increase in exports to non-EU -markets such as the US and Canada - which more than compensated for a smaller fall in exports to customers inside European Union.
Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones said:
The performance of Welsh exporters is encouraging - and I am determined that the Assembly Government's Department for the Economy will do everything we can not only to support existing exporters, but to assist more Welsh firms to find new markets abroad for for their goods and services.
Sales of Welsh products to North America have grown from £1.4 billion in 2004 to 2.0 billion in 2006. Over the past three months, sales totalled £569 million compared with £484 million for the same period last year. North America is by far and away the most important export market for Wales outside the EU - which bought £5.7 billion worth of Welsh goods in 2006.
During the year to June, the Wales percentage increase in export sales was the third highest amongst the UK countries and English regions, with Northern Ireland and the North East having the highest percentage increases over the same period .
Overall, total Welsh exports have grown strongly over the recent years from £8,316m in 2004, to £8,645m in 2005 to the latest figure £9,159 million for the year to June 2007.
In terms of sectors, the most valuable for overseas sales was machinery and transport which accounted for £3,432 million worth of exports last year. Manufactured goods sales during the same period were worth £2,270 million, Fuels were worth £1,691 million and chemicals £1,232 million.
7 September 2007