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Welsh companies in five key sectors will be brought together to help each other export more of their products across the globe, as part of a new programme being launched by Economy Minister Vaughan Gething.

First published:
15 September 2021
Last updated:

Welsh companies in five key sectors will be brought together to help each other export more of their products across the globe, as part of a new programme being launched by Economy Minister Vaughan Gething.

The Export Cluster Programme is one of a series of new support initiatives being introduced by the Welsh Government as part of the Export Action Plan for Wales, which aims to create a strong, vibrant and sustainable exporting sector to help strengthen the economy, safeguard existing and create new jobs and opportunities for people in Wales.

Its aim is to drive the growth of Welsh exports in the longer term, increasing the contribution exports make to the Welsh economy, including by broadening Wales’ exporter base.

In 2019, firms in Wales exported £17.8 billion worth of goods to markets across the world, with the EU being Wales’ most significant trading partner. There were 106,015 businesses operating in Wales in 2019 but HMRC figures show that only around 5,243 of them exported goods that year.

This new programme is designed to bring companies together to develop their capacity and capabilities for exporting. It will help develop strong networks of support, working on a “one-to-many” basis to support their export development, helping to ensure companies learn from each other and share knowledge and experience.

The programme will work with companies in key sectors, including technology, high value manufacturing, consumer products, clean energy and life sciences. The new export clusters will be based on the successful Food and Drink Wales export cluster model. 

The launch of the new programme is especially important in the current economic climate, as Welsh businesses continue to recover and rebuild from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as coming to terms with the new trading relationship with the EU. 

The programme is a core part of the Welsh Government’s Export Action Plan, which set Ministers’ commitments to prioritising export development and supporting Welsh businesses on their export journey, from inspiring businesses to begin to export, building their export capability; helping businesses find overseas customers; and accessing overseas markets.

Delivering the Export Action Plan is a commitment in the Welsh Government’s Programme for Government, as well as a central theme of the Welsh Government’s International Strategy, which reinforced Ministers’ ambitions to raise Wales’ international profile; grow the Welsh economy, including increasing exports; and establishing Wales as a globally responsible nation.

Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, launched the new programme during a visit to Cardiff-based Catsci, which develops environmentally sustainable pharmaceutical manufacturing processes. The company has received Welsh Government support to export, which has helped it to visit key markets, attend trade shows and identify and meet with potential business partners.

Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, said:

“The Welsh Government is committed to working with companies across Wales to help them create new jobs in the industries of the future.

“Exports of goods and services already contribute a significant amount to our economy. It is vital that we are able to maintain, and grow, this contribution in order to meet the challenges we face both now and in the future. That’s why we’re determined to improve Wales’ export performance even further, despite the challenges in the global trading environment in recent times.

“The new Export Cluster Programme I am launching today is a crucial part of our Export Action Plan, which I believe is the most ambitious and comprehensive programme of export support ever put in place in Wales.

“It will support and reach out to more companies to develop their capacity and capabilities for exporting, helping them to develop new exporting opportunities in new international markets. This will help create economic growth, helping to create new and better jobs in our communities.

“This is all part of our mission to create a prosperous, fair, green economy in Wales.

Dr Jenny Wallis, Business Development Manager at CatSci, said:

“We have seen great success in exporting and this has been central to our business growth. With the new facilities we are looking to continue innovating, build on our recent success and further grow our international trade.

“Welsh Government support has helped us with our export activities, including market exploration and trade exhibitions as well as general advice from knowledgeable and experienced people. Any Welsh business looking to export or to export more, I would encourage them to speak to the Welsh Government’s export team.