Welsh Government promotes overseas trade missions

Welsh Government promotes overseas trade missions

Welsh businesses have been encouraged to sign up for trade visits as the Welsh Government announced its 12-month plans at the Wales Exporters Association.

Sarah James, a member of the Welsh Government’s International Trade Team, outlined the schedule over the next 12 months, noting that the Welsh Government is increasing its focus on overseas trade in light of Brexit.

Sarah outlined details of the Welsh Government's 2018-19 International Market Visits Programme, which can fund 50% of the costs of businesses attending such trade missions.

The announcement came at the Wales Exporters Association’s first event of 2018, held at the Glyn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea.

Welsh Government plans for this year include visits to Qatar, Brazil, Australia, Kuwait, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, China, Hong Kong, and the UAE.

It will also include visits to key international exhibitions including the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris and the MEDICA trade fair in Dusseldorf.

James also noted the Welsh Government is opening more international offices in the coming months, complementing its existing 14 sites.

The new offices will be situated in Montreal, Canada, Paris, Berlin, Dusseldorf and Dohar.

James also outlined how the missions work and the support the Welsh Government offers businesses, which includes match-making with potential clients on such trips.

She said that the team’s success is judged on how many tangible contracts are agreed.

Economy Secretary Ken Skates will lead a trade delegation to China next week, showing off Welsh wares across a variety of sectors in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Mr Skates said of the mission: “Along with a 25-company strong trade delegation, I will be extolling Wales’ virtues as a first-class trading partner, an excellent tourism destination, a diverse cultural partner and a great place to live, study and do business.

“Our new Economic Action Plan is clear about our commitment to prioritising exports and trade, and helping businesses retain their existing trading partners while supporting them to branch out into other global markets.

“And as we all seek to navigate the opportunities, challenges and complexities of Brexit it is more important than ever that we reach out to China and our other international partners to build a stronger and fairer economy from all.” 

At the same event, Sheraz Akram and Aaron Hayward from the corporate and commercial department of law firm, DJM Solicitors presented on GDPR – advising delegates on what they need to think about and do ahead of the new regulation set to come into force in May.

They warned that although there has been much scaremongering around the implications of GDPR, businesses must take it seriously and make every effort to be compliant ahead of it coming into force, as substantial fines will be issued to companies caught breaching new rules. 

Steve Smith, chairman of the Wales Exporters Association, said: “It was a fantastic session and we were delighted to be working with the Welsh Government to help bring these opportunities to local businesses.

“Equally, GDPR is a huge issue for all businesses and the presentation from DJM was very well received.”