Eluned Morgan AM, Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language
During Recess I visited Washington, New York and Philadelphia on my first international visit as International Relations and Welsh Language Minister. The purpose of my visit was to make clear that Wales is very much open for business, despite Brexit, and to highlight areas where Wales has a great story to tell, such as bilingualism and our unique Wellbeing of Future Generations Act.
Links between Wales and America stretch back centuries and those links continue today through business, culture, education and tourism. In the current international climate it is more important than ever to maintain close links with one of our most important markets. There are 270 US companies in Wales employing almost 50,000 people and it was the 3rd largest export market in 2017, after France and Germany.
In Washington DC, I met representatives from Symantec and other cyber specialists to highlight Wales’ world class expertise in Cyber Security. I also met representatives of the US-UK Business Council of the US Chamber of Commerce. It was clear that Brexit is causing significant concern amongst the business community; I assured them of Wales’ continuing commitment to maintaining a strong, pro-business climate
I visited the World Bank to highlight how Wales’ Wellbeing of Future Generations Act is promoting social and economic well-being and our global role model in demonstrating how indigenous languages can thrive. I also co-hosted the St David’s Day reception on Capitol Hill, and addressed an audience of business contacts, political representatives and Welsh Diaspora to highlight our World class universities, our skilled and committed workforce, and our unique bilingual culture.
In New York, in conjunction with representatives from the Basque Country, Flanders and Quebec I held a session at the UN, highlighting our work in promoting multilingual societies in our respective societies. I met with the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs to discuss Wales’ leading example in localising Sustainable Development Goals. I also met with Welsh exporters, Penderyn and Delio Wealth, to discuss their experience of expanding into the American market and how we can encourage more companies to follow their lead.
On St. David’s Day, I travelled to Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, a State rich in Welsh connections and heritage, where I met the Mayor, James Kenney, to discuss areas of possible collaboration and mutual interest. I held useful discussions with the business community, and met Evolve IP, one of the world’s fastest growing cloud strategy companies to discuss its presence in Wales and how we can help it to grow that base.
On the last evening of my visit, I attended the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama’s St David’s Day event in New York, which showcased the breadth and depth of creative talent in Wales and the incredible strength of our vibrant Creative Sector.
My visit reaffirmed my view that it is vital for Wales to retain close ties with the United States and to build on good networks which are already in place. I am determined to ensure that we identify new possibilities for the future so that the deep rooted friendship that exists between our two nations can continue to thrive.