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Trade and Investment in Wales

Volume 692: debated on Thursday 15 April 2021

Last month, I announced our new trade and investment hub in Wales, which will support almost 200,000 exporters and channel investment into Wales. It will play a crucial role in the export-led, jobs-led recovery for Wales.

The UK Government’s plan for a trade and investment hub in Wales is welcome support for business here in Wales. It will support exporters and help to restore inward investment in Wales to the levels we enjoyed in the past. What benefits has the Secretary of State identified that the hub will bring to exporters here in Aberconwy and across north Wales?

The trade and investment hub will provide support to business across Wales. There are already 2,000 people in Aberconwy working in export-intensive industries. The trade hub will provide support, including for Welsh lamb exports, which have resumed after more than 20 years to countries such as Japan.

The Government’s “Global Britain, local jobs” analysis does not take into account Brexit or covid, it ignores Welsh farming and Welsh steel production, and it appears to think that there are still 1,500 people employed in car production in Bridgend, which sadly there are not. Does the Secretary of State therefore think that this outdated, incomplete analysis is a reliable foundation on which to base her trade policy for Wales?

The analysis that we produced as part of “Global Britain, local jobs” is the first time that we have produced data at a constituency level for export industries, and it always takes time for statistics to be processed. The new Trade Bill has enabled us to get access to more up-to-date data that we will of course continue to update our strategy with. I was hoping that the hon. Gentleman would welcome the new trade hub that we are establishing in Cardiff, which will bring more investment to Wales—so let us hear from him.

I think what the Secretary of State meant to say was that there is room for improvement, and that is certainly true. The stark reality is that Wales is getting a raw deal from the Trade Department. According to her own figures, the Department delivered 638 new inward investment projects for London but just 62 for Wales—a lower number of new investment projects than in any region in England, and for three years in a row. How can she justify those figures?

We are establishing a trade and investment hub in Cardiff this year that will employ up to 100 people precisely to bring more investment into Wales, more jobs into Wales, and more export opportunities into Wales.