Edwina Hart, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport
During the short recess I visited Japan to promote new and existing business links between our two countries.
I was particularly pleased to announce in Tokyo a brand new investor into Wales - Calbee, a major producer of snacks and cereals who will create around a hundred jobs in the Deeside Enterprise Zone. I first met Calbee to make the pitch for Wales during my visit to Tokyo in 2013 and the fact that the company selected Wales as their European base in the face of competition from across Europe and the UK is a clear tribute to what Wales has to offer. I have every expectation that this is the beginning of a long-term relationship between Calbee and Wales.
I also visited existing investors in Wales – Sony, Panasonic, Sharp and Toyota – and met other companies of potential interest. I had extensive discussions with Hitachi’s senior management about their investment on Anglesey’s new nuclear project. I also used the opportunity to meet a selection of tour operators to discuss how Wales can better meet the needs and opportunities of the Japanese travelling tourist market.
I hosted a reception, jointly with the British Ambassador, for business contacts and friends of Wales in Japan. This included members of the “Clwb Hiraeth”, an association for Japenese business people who have previously been posted to positions in Wales and who, on their return to Japan, wish to remain in contact with Wales.
It is 40 years since the first Japanese company invested in Wales. Many others have followed and, as Calbee shows, companies continue to choose Wales today. The international investment market has unquestionably become more competitive over the decades and it is vital that we work hard to send out the pro-active message that Wales is open for business. This administration has prioritised Wales’ relationship with Japan and I look forward to many more years of mutually beneficial business.