THE Welsh Government’s new Export Action Plan will provide the most ambitious and comprehensive programme of export support put in place in Wales.
Welsh goods and services have long been exported worldwide, helping Wales become a strong and successful trading nation. Between 2015 and 2019, the value of Welsh goods exports grew at a faster rate than the UK as a whole and, in 2019, reached £17.8bn.
However, the prolonged negotiations of the future relationship between the UK and EU has stifled businesses’ ability to fully plan and prepare.
Economy Minister Ken Skates has said this has placed incredible pressures on firms who are already dealing with the economic impacts of coronavirus.
To support firms through these challenging times, the Minister has today announced a new Export Action Plan which will put in place wide-ranging support for Welsh exporters to recover and rebuild.
The plan will provide immediate assistance to business, and reinvent and adapt support to meet the needs of exporting businesses post-Covid and the end of EU Transition.
Economy Minister Ken Skates said: “Wales has so much to offer to the world and over recent years we have seen a significant increase in the numbers of our fantastic goods and services being shipped across the globe.
“This increase, which has seen exports in Wales rising faster than in the UK as a whole, has followed years of hard work by Welsh Government.
“We have worked closely with Welsh companies to help them boost their exports and grow their international trade and it is work that has been strengthened by our Economic Action Plan and International Strategy. As a country we have seen and enjoyed the economic benefits of our collective success in this area.
“However, it’s clear the coronavirus pandemic and the drawn out negotiations on the future relationship with the EU have taken their toll, with provisional statistics showing the value of Welsh goods exports for the 12 months up to the second quarter of 2020 is down 12.5% on the previous year.
“Today I am launching a new Export Action Plan, which I firmly believe is the most comprehensive and ambitious ever in Wales to support our exporting businesses to recover and rebuild. It has been developed with our partners and is specifically designed to ensure our exporting businesses are well positioned to face the challenges of today and tomorrow.”
The Export Action Plan sets out the Welsh Government’s focus on:
Adapting existing programmes of export support so they align with new ways of working and the changing needs of business;
Providing advice and support to Welsh exporters to help them manage the end of the EU transition phase;
Reaching out to more businesses in Wales, particularly those businesses with a potential to export;
Building capacity and capability for exporting to ensure Welsh businesses have the right skills and confidence to be successful exporters;
Developing new export support interventions, including piloting a new Export Cluster initiative to facilitate strong networks of export support;
Delivering overseas activity in key markets and matching these opportunities for sectors where Wales has particular sectoral strengths.
A new online Export Hub is also available for businesses. This is an important resource for Welsh firms and provides live information on a range of export issues. This will support both new and existing exporters to grow and address any challenges they face with the future trading environment.
In addition, a series of ‘virtual export market visits’ have been set up for the remainder of this financial year to ensure Welsh businesses can continue to meet with potential customers in target markets.