Wales: Ready and Uniquely Placed to Do Business; as the Nation Celebrates St David's Day, First Minister Carwyn Jones Says the Welsh Government Is Ready to Support All Aspects of Business in Wales

Article excerpt

WALES is a unique place. Everyone who lives here, visits here, studies here or does business here already knows that. We all know the advantages that Wales offers, but it's an important part of my job as First Minister to tell the people who don't know, exactly what they are missing.

It's vital that we use what's unique to Wales to make us stand out in a crowded international market place. Whether it's promoting trade and investment, attracting tourism or encouraging overseas students to come and study here, our distinctive qualities and the talent we have here are crucial to selling what we have to offer abroad.

So today, on 1st March, our national day, we celebrate ourselves, our country and our culture. It's a special day for Wales and Welsh people everywhere. We also remember a hugely significant figure in the history of Wales. St David's life is shrouded in myth and legend, but what has come down through time is a picture of a man willing to stand up for what he felt was right.

We also get a picture of a man who was, for his time, an outward-looking well-travelled individual, not afraid to reach out and create links overseas.

Likewise, in modern Wales, we too have to be outward-looking and reach out overseas. We have to stand out and be bold and confident about what we have to offer. We have to get ourselves out in the wider world with a clear message: Wales is ready and open to do business.

We promote Wales because we are committed to do all we can to support our economy and help create jobs here in Wales. Doing business with the world and attracting the world to do business here is central to increasing Wales' prosperity and it's the duty of this Welsh Government to do all it can to promote our country on the global stage.

I am committed to doing this and so are all Welsh Government Ministers. We will be selling Wales overseas at events organised to coincide with St David's Day as part of our drive to open new doors for Wales, promote our brand and show a global audience what we have to offer ... using what makes us unique to make Wales stand out.

Already this year, I have travelled to Turkey, an important emerging market; Ireland, an historic and significant trading partner and an important market for tourism; and to California, the global centre for high-technology innovation and a US state that would be amongst the top 10 largest economies in the world if it was an independent country. Promoting Welsh business there and attracting trade and investment back here played a major role in each of those journeys and I have taken further action to bolster the Welsh Government's presence overseas as part of our effort. We plan to do more.

To mark this St David's Day, I am visiting Barcelona, a major European city that has a direct air link to Wales, and Brussels, promoting Wales at the heart of Europe. So much of the Welsh economy depends upon our links with Europe and our place within the EU, that it's crucial we are visible in this key arena. …