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Written Statement - St. David's Day

The Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister of Wales
Promoting Wales abroad is an important priority for this Government and St David’s Day, our national day, offers an important opportunity to promote Wales for business, tourism and international co-operation.  

On 28 February I went to Brussels to host a reception showcasing Welsh produce targeted at our European Union contacts.  I used the opportunity in my remarks to underline the importance to Wales, and in particular our business prospects, of continued UK membership of the European Union.  In addition, I held meetings in the European Parliament and had a useful chance to meet Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Belgium to discuss Wales’ role in events to commemorate the First World War. 

I subsequently travelled to Barcelona.  Here I introduced a presentation on the Welsh offer to business at a meeting and reception for Catalan businesses organised jointly with UK Trade and Industry.  Some of those attending were existing investors in Wales while others may consider future investment.  

On St David’s Day itself I was received by the Minister-President of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Artur Mas.  Our discussion ranged over a variety of commercial and political issues.  We held a joint press conference which I used to further promote Wales.

I hosted a wider St David’s Day reception for an audience of business people, the political community and journalists.  I also promoted a TV marketing campaign for Wales as a tourist destination.  Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Spain and the British Consul in Barcelona accompanied me on my calls and I had excellent support throughout from the FCO and UKTI.  

In order to make the most of the opportunities provided by St David’s Day, Ministers were deployed widely.  The Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology & Science conducted a commercial mission to Los Angeles; the Minister for Education & Skills hosted a reception for a diplomatic and business audience in London; the Minister for Housing Regeneration Heritage conducted a programme in our Chinese partner region of Chongqing.
Taken as a whole I believe this activity reflects a significant effort to boost the international profile of Wales.  We operate in an ultra competitive global environment and this Government is determined to leave no stone unturned in promoting Wales as a business location and partner of choice.