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Economy Secretary, Ken Skates will be in Japan next week as part of the Welsh Government’s ongoing work to strengthen trade links with its international partners.

First published:
7 October 2016
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

The Cabinet Secretary will be joined by a trade mission of 19 Welsh companies, including The Snowdonia Cheese Company, V-Trak,  Melin Tregwynt and  Reid Lifting Ltd, all of whom are looking to develop their trading relationship with Japan.

Whilst in Osaka the Cabinet Secretary will accompany Welsh companies at the Hankyu Department Store’s British Fair – an event aimed at promoting all things British to shoppers at one of  Japan’s most exclusive retailers. 

He will meet the Osaka Chamber for Commerce, the British Ambassador to Japan, Tim Hitchens and will represent Welsh interests at a key business reception. 

The Cabinet Secretary will also use his visit as an opportunity to visit the Tokyo premises of two of Wales’ most valued Japanese partners, Sony and Hitachi , to reaffirm Wales’ commitment to an ongoing partnership with both companies. 

Ken Skates said: 

“My visit  and the accompanying trade mission provides the perfect opportunity to strengthen our already thriving partnership with Japan and to stress that Wales is very much open for business and keener than ever to build and cement links. 

“Wales, of course, has a proud history of trading with Japan, with Welsh exports to the country standing at over £290m last year alone and increasing year on year. 

"Japan also has a long standing commitment to Wales with links dating back to the 1970s,  and there are now  around 50 Japanese-owned companies including Fujitsu, Hitachi, Panasonic, Sharp, Sony and Toyota operating in Wales and cumulatively employing over 6,000 people. Indeed I am looking forward to visiting both Sony and Hitachi in Tokyo later this week.  

“My job during this visit is to build on our already strong relationship with Japan. Wales has  a huge amount to offer as a trading partner, a tourist destination and indeed,  a friend. I want to bang the drum for Wales and  reach out to our international partners as we work to build a stronger and fairer economy for everyone in Wales.” 

Angela Illingworth, Sales Executive for Snowdonia Cheese, who are in Japan as part of the trade mission said: 

“We have had strong interest from Japan for our products and this trade mission will assist us in building on this interest and securing  more export orders in the market.  Our products are also being showcased at the Hankyu Department store, which will assist us to target Japanese consumers and develop demand for our products." 

Russell Penman, Bridgend based design and  manufacturing company, V-Trak who make innovative seating and positioning equipment for the disabled and infirm said: 

“Japan presents good opportunities for our business, and we are keen to grow our exports in the market. The trade mission is a great way of exploring the market further and developing  relationships with Japanese businesses.”