The UK-Hong Kong trade relationship is about to get a boost as Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns attends a showcase of the best of British innovation in Asia.
Organised by the UK Government as part of its GREAT campaign, the GREAT Festival of Innovation in Hong Kong will show how new technology could change the way we work, learn, and play in the future.
Running from 21-24 March, the event will provide a fantastic opportunity for the very best British and Asian innovators to create new trade links and strengthen existing relationships with hundreds of international business leaders and investors.
During his visit, Alun Cairns will deliver a keynote speech to an audience of 300 businesses on the important role innovation will have to play in Britain’s future global trading success.
He will also have bilateral meetings with representatives from businesses including BT, Detroit Electrical and Sanpower before hosting a gathering of business representatives from Hong Kong’s St David’s Society.
Alun Cairns, who will join the Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox at the Festival, said:
“There is no mistaking the importance of Hong Kong to Britain. This remarkable corner of the world is the UK’s second largest trading partner in Asia. And as one of our most important foreign direct investors, it is a partnership that creates thousands of jobs and supports families across the UK.
“And it is part of an Asian market that presents so many opportunities for Welsh businesses to grow and to find new customers outside of the EU. I’m looking forward to exploring those opportunities out there, to build on this important relationship and help to create more investment and export opportunities for companies from both territories.”
Several hundred of the UK’s most creative businesses and institutions will attend, including businesses from Wales – each experiencing a packed programme examining how innovation and technology can be a key influencer in our future trade and investment relationships with Asia.
One of the companies heading to Hong Kong with be Cardiff based IQE - the leading global supplier of advanced semiconductor wafer products and services, and a leading partner in the compound semiconductor cluster backed by the £1.2billion City Deal for the Cardiff Capital Region.
During the Festival, they will have a unique opportunity to meet potential new business partners whilst also further raising its profile across a wider network including government agencies and the investment community.
Joining IQE as part of the travelling Welsh contingent will be Hydro Industries, Snowdonia Cheese company and CS Catapult – each making a significant contribution to the value of Welsh exports which totalled £16.4 billion last year - an increase of 12.3% on the previous year.
Yet Alun Cairns will say that there is huge scope for more Welsh businesses to reach new customers in the wake of EU exit by meeting the huge demand for UK goods and services overseas.
He added: “The GREAT Festival of Innovation will show that the connections that we have around the world can become more varied, become stronger and become more enticing as we leave the EU.
“I have no doubt that the next four days will help to open the doors for Welsh businesses looking to seek out opportunities to expand and thrive in international markets.
“Wales has some fantastic businesses who have experienced significant success when taking their products around the world.
“I hope they can be a source of inspiration to others and that this trade mission helps foster new relationships that Welsh businesses can capitalise upon in the future.”