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06 October 2017

5 ways Welsh Government can sell Wales to the World

The Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee of the Welsh Assembly is taking evidence today (Wednesday) on its consultation entitled “Selling Wales to the World” which focuses on marketing Wales, creating investment opportunities and supporting export around the world.

Ben Cottam, FSB Wales Head of External Affairs will give evidence to the committee today and within FSB’s evidence will highlight ways in which Welsh Government can sell Wales to the world. Among them:

  1. Welsh Government should develop a Trade and Investment Strategy to work alongside the forthcoming Economic Development Strategy

    FSB feels that a new and explicit strategy is required to provide a strategic focus for all investment and trade activity and ensure that such activity is aligned to Welsh Government’s wider economic development aims such as capitalising and developing domestic Welsh supply chains and delivering a greater return on government spend and its activity as well as growing indigenous Welsh business.

     

  2. The potential for an arms-length trade and investment body along the lines of Enterprise Ireland or Scottish Development International should be considered for Wales.

    This body would be tasked with developing opportunities for international trade, as well as developing Wales’ international brand. It would provide for a more commercial approach to trade and investment activity as well as gather in third parties, including business in partnership to better project Wales’ international brand post-Brexit

     

  3. Welsh Government’s overseas offices do not seem to have a tangible effect on export performance. Their role should be clarified as part of a Trade and Investment Strategy.

    Data shows that despite positive overall export performance, the siting of Welsh Government’s overseas offices bears little relation to increased export performance in those markets. A Trade and Investment Strategy would give renewed purpose to these overseas offices and direct their role for the future.

     

  4. Increase the ability of small businesses to join trade missions and export new markets

    Small businesses have, in the past, often felt shut out of trade missions. There have been notable exceptions such as Tiny Rebel Brewery joining the recent trade mission to Japan, but there needs to be more support from Welsh Government to encourage smaller businesses to join trade missions. This will give them the confidence to explore new and emerging markets as well as more effectively showcase the real diversity of Welsh business.

     

  5. Welsh Government should examine the impact of future trade deals as part of its Trade and Investment Strategy.                                                                         In the future, Welsh Government may have a role to play in informing any future free-trade agreements the UK Government signs in the post-Brexit environment. We would expect the priorities for Welsh Government in this regard would emerge from its trade and investment strategy and would also include a commitment where possible to small business chapters in any free trade deal.

 

Ben Cottam, FSB Wales Head of External Affairs, said:

“The consultation on selling Wales to the world comes at an important time for Wales.

“There are many small businesses that are already exporting, both to the EU and around the world, and their business is thriving as a result. There are many more that would seek to trade, or to expand to new markets and as we move through the Brexit landscape, increasing this capability needs strategic attention. However, equally, we need to be clear what Wales’ offering is and what we seek through opportunities of inward investment. There is a need to better engage the business community in this conversation”

“We want to work with the Welsh Government to ensure that small businesses and the development of the SME economy in Wales is front-and-centre of this activity and we provide the best return for Welsh jobs and the economy. Only by a more strategic approach and capitalising on new partnerships can we boost our ability to shine a light on Wales across the world.”