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Our overseas offices network is split into three regions: Europe, North America and the Middle East and Asia. Each region has a focus tailored to its strengths, and Wales’ interests, as outlined in their international remits. This section sets out highlights of activity undertaken in each region during 2023-2024.


Europe remains a key focus for our international work. Our offices in Europe continue to proactively engage with European institutions, networks, nations and regions to demonstrate that Wales remains an active part of Europe and increase our reputation as a trusted partner.

There has been a significant ministerial presence across Europe over the past 12 months with ministers travelling to France, Germany, Belgium, Poland and Ireland.

This year we have signed 4 new international agreements with European partners, which set out areas of cooperation and closer ties with those countries and regions where we have shared interests. This includes:

  • A new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and action plan with Flanders - in June 2023, the Minister-President of Flanders visited Wales with the primary purpose of signing this MOU. The First Minister also met with the Minister-President during his St David’s Day visit to Brussels.
  • The re-signing of our longstanding MOU with Brittany marking 20 years of the Wales-Brittany relationship.
  • The new ‘Rennes Declaration’ signed at the Celtic Forum by 6 partners to strengthen inter-celtic cooperation.
  • A new Shared Statement and action plan with Baden-Württemberg, signed by the Minister for Economy during a visit to Stuttgart.
  • A new MOU and action plan with Silesia, Poland – the First Minister travelled to Poland in order to sign the Agreement, which followed a visit to Wales by the Marshal of Silesia in March 2023.

In Brussels, we have seen increased engagement with EU institutions, strengthened by the engagement with the Welsh Government’s Representative on Europe. Highlights include:

  • Minister for Economy address to the European Parliament Regional Development Committee on Wales’ approach to European regional engagement. Wider programme of meetings with MEPs, CPMR, and visit to IMEC research facility in Leuven.
  • Deputy Minister for Social Partnership visit, which included meetings with the President of European Economic and Social Committee, MEPs and EU representatives to discuss the Social Partnership Act and how we can engage with EU institutions going forward.
  • Addressing the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education as part of its inquiry on UK-EU mobility. The meeting provided the opportunity to highlight the Taith programme and to emphasise Wales’ commitment to European engagement.
  • Hosting the CPMR Atlantic Arc Commission General Assembly in Cardiff –bringing together ministers and senior officials from a range of EU regions, plus Québec, to discuss strengthened inter-regional cooperation in the Atlantic area. The event was jointly delivered by the Welsh Government Brussels and Cardiff offices and the Senedd.

With France as the dedicated country for our ‘Wales in…’ campaign, and the host of the Rugby World Cup, France was a strong focus for Wales in 2023-2024. Three Ministers were in France for the RWC promoting Wales and widening our relations in Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon, Nantes and Marseille. There was a strong focus on food and drink promotion across the cities, following a Food and Drink trade mission earlier in the year, and a strong focus on company engagement. Our key partners – Wales Arts International and the Urdd - enabled us to also have a strong cultural element across key cities with the Wales in France year, establishing a new Wales in France Cultural Fund (jointly funded with the British Council). Six projects were funded to a value of £100,000. More information on the activity and outcomes of Wales in France is contained in the case study on page 29.

Our Paris office supported the Welsh presence at European Cyber Week in Brittany and the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris. Other low carbon economy activity included engagement with Pays de la Loire and Hauts de France regions on green energy, and the team helped secure a French business delegation to the Marine Energy Wales Conference.

We have worked with food and drink companies entering the French market and with partners to support Welsh exporters experiencing difficulties with customs checks at the French border. The team’s intervention prevented the destruction of a £200,000 value food export.

2024 is the 20-year anniversary of the Wales-Brittany relationship. Celebrations will include a visit by the President of Brittany to Wales, marine energy engagement and a joint project between BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Orchestre National de Bretagne.

In Germany, our activity has been focused on North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg, with the Minister for Economy visiting both states at the end of 2023 to support trade missions and strengthen trade and investment opportunities. Activity in North Rhine-Westphalia included meetings with industry and clusters around collaboration on German circular economy projects linked to Wales hosting the Circular Economy Hotspot in October 2024, as well as support to a Welsh delegation of 23 Welsh exhibitors at MEDICA in Düsseldorf - the world’s largest medical trade fair.

The team also addressed the UK-North Rhine-Westphalia Parliamentary Group, discussing international student exchange, the German language in Wales, links with Germany post-Brexit and net zero. We are in discussion with the Parliamentary Group about a visit to Wales in 2024.

Teams in Germany and Cardiff have spent the last 12 months preparing the ground for Welsh Ministers to sign a Shared Statement of Cooperation with Baden-Württemberg (B-W). The Economy Minister signed the Statement on behalf of the WG and held bilateral meetings with B-W Ministers on life sciences and wider economic and shared interests.

We represented Wales at the Four Motors for Europe conference on e-mobility, as well as the Automotive Suppliers Day in Stuttgart, showcasing Wales’ assets and expertise to experts from a range of European regions. We also attended the Battery Show in Stuttgart, planning next steps with the B-W mobility cluster around hydrogen, 5G research, market access workshops and the Stuttgart automotive suppliers’ day.

Building on our sports diplomacy focus, we supported the Urdd (in partnership with the Football Association of Wales) to deliver a “Chwarae yn Cymraeg” activity with a partner school in Sinsheim in the lead up to a UEFA Nations League women’s football match. This activity helped to raise awareness of Cymraeg, and to show support to the Wales women’s team. The office also represented Welsh Government at the UK-German Cultural Commission at the German Foreign Office, co-chaired by the UK Minister for Europe and German Minister for Cultural Relations. This was the first meeting of this commission since 1993.

Working with the Bavarian Representative to the UK, we brought together academics, industry and policy makers for a virtual AgriTech Roundtable between Bavaria and Wales. The meeting discussed some of the biggest challenges and interest areas in agritech to establish key shared interest areas. This engagement led to our presentation on Wales-Bavarian agritech links to the UK-Bavaria Steering Committee, chaired by the Bavarian Minister for Europe and the UK Parliamentary Under Secretary of State.

Engagement across other German states included supporting the trade mission of Welsh publishers at the 75th Frankfurt Book Fair and attendance at Semicon Europa, providing the opportunity to meet companies looking to engage with the Welsh cluster and the President of Semi, ahead of the launch of Semi UK in Cardiff, which brings leading decision makers to Wales from some of the world’s leading semiconductor companies.

Ministers and officials have continued to work together throughout the year to deliver the Ireland Wales Shared Statement and Joint Action Plan. The Ireland office has built on existing policy exchanges and established new areas of collaboration within fields such as agriculture, forestry and peatlands, enterprise and trade, education, innovation and finance. Throughout the year, the team has worked directly with Irish exporters and relevant policy teams in the Ireland and UK governments on the role of new border controls which impact trade channels from Ireland into Welsh ports.

The Dublin office has further celebrated the cultural links at the Other Voices Festivals in Dingle and Aberteifi, with the First Minister opening the Festival in Aberteifi, participating in a panel session and hosting a reception. Further opportunities were secured in Ireland for Welsh artists at key cultural events such as the Dublin Fringe festival and St Patrick’s festival.

The Ireland team has supported visits across the year, including facilitating the International Relations Senedd Committee’s two-day visit programme investigating the Wales Ireland relationship and Universities Wales’ visit to establish connections with the British Council, Irish University Association, Trinity and University College Dublin. The office delivered a 2-day visit for the Minister for Social Justice and Chief Whip in Dublin, which included 2 receptions for Ireland Wales stakeholders as part of St David’s Day celebrations.

The Ireland team has focused strongly on trade and investment opportunities and supported Welsh businesses at the Dublin Aviation Summit, World Offshore Wind Conference, Dublin Tech Summit and ARVR conferences. Furthermore, the team has connected Welsh businesses to sector opportunities in Ireland around key sectors such as Life Sciences and Aerospace and attended Explore Export events in Wales.

The team has supported reinvestment projects by Irish businesses with an existing footprint in Wales throughout the year. The team celebrated Irish investment in Wales through events with the British Irish Chamber of Commerce and an investor dinner hosted by the UK Ambassador in Dublin. A direct result of the ongoing work has seen a world leading clinical research organisation headquartered in Dublin grow and create new roles at its Swansea base this year.

The 2023 Ireland Wales Ministerial Forum took place in Bangor in October with the First Minister, Minister for Rural Affairs, North Wales and Trefnydd, Minister for Economy and Minister for Climate Change hosting the Tánaiste and Irish Government’s Simon Harris TD, then Minister for Higher Education and Skills, now Taoiseach. The 2-day programme included site visits and roundtable discussions showcasing a variety of Wales’ strengths.

The forum continues to forge new connections and deepen the bilateral relationship across many themes and sectors.

This year, it enabled greater cooperation and engagement between respective organisations in the Maritime, Renewable Energy, Language, Agritech and Environment sectors and has led to further meetings and reciprocal visits between Ireland and Wales on shared challenges and policy exchanges.

North America

In North America, our growing relationship with Alabama and sports diplomacy continued to provide a backdrop to some of the main strands of work over the past 12 months.

Our strengthening of cultural relations with Alabama saw the University of Alabama Birmingham Gospel Choir visit Wales in partnership with the Urdd, and a visit from the Minister for Economy to sign the Wales-Birmingham International Friendship Pact in the autumn. As a result of our developing relationship, our offices have held a series of meetings, including with the Mayor’s Office on progressing the goals of the Pact, the University of Alabama at Birmingham - which is working with Cardiff University on medical student exchange - and meetings with industry leaders in Birmingham on investment opportunities focused on life sciences and tech. Economic partnerships are being explored and there is a potential visit to Wales by a Birmingham business and cultural delegation in Summer 2024. More information about the Minister for Economy’s visit, and our relationship with Alabama can be found on page 36.

14 additional members were added to the Congressional Friends of Wales Caucus, increasing the Caucus by 70%. This achievement has been delivered following successful relationship building during the Minister for Economy’s visit to Birmingham, and the wider team co-hosting an event with the House Chiefs of Staff Association, amongst others. This, and the 10-year anniversary of the Caucus, was celebrated at a ‘State of the Whisky’ event in the US Capitol before the State of the Union and in collaboration with Penderyn.

Sports diplomacy was a strong focus for the team with the ‘Summer of Welsh Soccer’ taking place across the USA. Wrexham AFC played 4 games in the USA and the US Women’s National Team invited Cymru to play in San Jose. The offices collaborated with Visit Wales to promote Wrexham and Wales as tourist destinations at the Wrexham games, whilst investors were hosted at all matches to showcase Wales as a destination to do business. Likewise, in collaboration with the FAW, we used the Cymru game to promote Wales as a business destination – a company attending one of these matches later invested substantially into Wales. In addition, the US team promoted two teams from Wales at the Homeless World Cup in Sacramento (the first iteration of the Cup took place in Wales). In October, we partnered with the Georgian and Portuguese Embassies in Washington DC on a Rugby World Cup event celebrating ‘Group C’ nations.

This year, we also advanced a number of educational partnerships.  We worked with Global Wales to host an event to celebrate its renewed partnership with the Gilman Scholarship Program, the Welsh Government’s Seren and Taith Schemes and supported the signing of an MOU between Universities Wales and Universities Canada. The team also supported the new partnership agreement between the University of Illinois and Cardiff University, which creates a £200,000 per year joint mobility fund for 5 years. This was the culmination of more than 3 years of relationship building and marks the beginning of a significant new chapter of collaboration.

Over the course of the year, the North America team has maintained a presence at key conferences. Teams across the region supported a Welsh presence at the AI summit in Montréal, RSA Cyber and Game Developers conferences in California, MRO Americas in Atlanta and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society annual conference in Chicago, amongst others.

On the trade side, it was announced that the USA is now the No. 1 export destination for Welsh businesses. Throughout the year, the team has supported Welsh businesses in various ways - from 1:1 advisory meetings to support at conferences. The team provided export advice to Wales-based companies looking to expand into the Midwest and worked with US investors promoting Wales as a destination for business. This was celebrated on St David’s Day when a joint reception was held with the Welsh Government and the company. The importance of trade conferences was reflected at Game Developers Conference (GDC) in 2024 where it was revealed that, as a direct result of the Welsh Government trade mission in 2023 to GDC, $1.6m worth of trade deals had already been generated.

In support of the semiconductor industry, we attended the Semicon West Conference in San Francisco, holding meetings with key companies in the cluster, and meeting with the US Commerce Department to discuss areas of collaboration under the CHIPS Act. We co-sponsored an event discussing UK-USA collaboration in semiconductors at the University of Arizona and are exploring joint research programmes with Welsh universities.

On the investment side, the USA remained the largest inward investor into Wales. As a direct result of the semiconductor activities, we worked with a major design studio that is anticipating creating a presence in Wales. This work also enabled the team to manage relationships with major investors into Wales – for example Vishay, which has acquired Newport Wafer Fab for $177 million.

In gaming, this year Rocket Science chose Wales as its European HQ having begun conversations with the Welsh Government at Game Developers Conference in 2022. The company was welcomed as part of the Welsh delegation to the 2024 Conference. A more detailed account of Wales’ journey to become a leader in the compound semiconductor industry can be found on page 39.

In the life sciences sector, we supported a Welsh delegation to BIO life sciences conference in Boston, facilitating and participating in conversations between NHS Wales and US companies, The North America team also travelled to Wales to meet with key stakeholders and priority clusters and held networking events providing 1:1 support for more than 20 companies looking to export to the USA and Canada.

The team also attended and supported the North American Festival of Wales. Through Welsh Government support, the Festival hosted the first ever free ‘open air’ street event celebrating Welsh music on the streets of Lincoln, Nebraska. We attended the Earthshot Innovation Summit and participated on a panel (with former US vice-president Al Gore) at New York Climate Week.

Welsh food and drink were promoted at the Summer Fancy Food show in New York City and a ‘Taste of Wales’ reception at the Consul General’s residence in New York which connected producers with buyers.   
On US soil, for Pride month, the offices joined local celebrations in Washington DC, New York City and Chicago, working to raise the profile of Wales and our ambition to be the most LGBTQ+ friendly nation in Europe.

Activity in Canada focussed on the creative sector during the second half of the year. The office partnered with FOCUS Wales to deliver an official ‘Wales at BreakOut West’ reception on the opening night of the music conference in October and a music showcase and Wales reception at M for Montreal in November. The events helped to strengthen our relationships, increase connections, showcase Wales and promote Welsh language music.

The office also jointly hosted a screening and reception of a Welsh film, ‘Chuck Chuck Baby’, at the International Film Festival of Ottawa with the Deputy High Commissioner. It was an opportunity to celebrate the art of film and to connect with fellow film enthusiasts – showcasing Wales at an International Film Festival. Under the direction of the Declaration of Intent, we continue to work closely with the Québec Government on our Joint Call for Proposals, which is now in its 4th year.

Middle East, North Africa and Asia (MENA)

Preparations for our presence at COP28 UAE started early, including regular meetings with UK and Welsh stakeholders to plan and support elements of Wales content and the promotion of Wales as a globally responsible nation. This involved engagement with representatives from business, innovation, the third sector, Future Generations Office, Climate Cymru, Size of Wales, several Welsh universities and the arts.

In the run up to, and during the Conference, the team helped promote renewables company Dulas, Respiratory Innovation Wales, Swansea-based EFT Consult, Infinite Renewables, Atlantic College, Swansea City Council, Swansea University and University Wales Trinity St David’s partnership with KPMG/OSC/Augment City to develop a digital twin of Swansea, Bangor University and the Mbale biodegradable potting bag project. Assistance was also provided to Welsh Government Climate Change officials who took part in plenary sessions at COP28. The team engaged with the former Future Generations Commissioner, Sophie Howe, who participated in the Dubai Future Forum panel sessions, and, with the help of the office, the Dubai Future Foundation has reached out to the Office of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales to invite him to participate in Dubai Future Forum 2024.

There are a number of established exhibitions and conferences across the UAE that were attended by Welsh companies on Welsh Government organised trade missions. These include Arab Health, Gulfood and ADIPEC.

The overseas office helped support 15 companies at ADIPEC energy show with a further 8 joining a concurrent multi-sector export market visit, 13 food and drink producers at Gulfood and 21 companies at the Arab Health and Dubai multi-sector export market visit. The team has assisted more than 100 companies in their export journeys over the past year across a variety of sectors throughout the region.

Networking events were organised for the trade missions, including a reception at HM Ambassador’s Residence for the ADIPEC trade mission attended by the Ambassador, and a reception in Dubai for the Arab Health trade mission for Welsh diaspora and business contacts. The team also hosted a multi-sector export market visit to Qatar and a virtual tech export cluster trade mission to UAE, supporting 13 cluster members with local market intelligence and key contacts.

On investment, the team facilitated a presentation on the ARTHUR nuclear medical radio-isotope project by the Chief Scientific Advisor’s Office to HM Ambassador Qatar, DBT investment teams in UAE and Qatar and the Office for Investment. This followed interest from the Qatar Investment Authority during the Economy Minister’s World Cup visit in 2022. Support was also provided to 4 potential capital investment projects.

The team assisted visits by the Global Centre for Rail Excellence to UAE for meetings with potential investors and the development of an MOU with the UAE’s national rail company.

To help expand our reach across MENA, and explore further opportunities for Wales, the office visited Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in November to scope both markets and develop a network of contacts.

Throughout the year the team has been instrumental providing support to Welsh Ministers and facilitating meetings regarding the possible re-establishment of the Doha-Cardiff route.

During the Destination Middle East promotion in the UAE and Qatar, the team supported Welsh food and drink launches at key supermarket retailers alongside a Chef’s Table Dinner in Dubai targeting the hotel, restaurant and catering sectors. The British Embassy Qatar showcased Welsh food and drink at HM King’s Coronation Party and Hybu Cig Cymru showcased Welsh lamb at Gulfood in Dubai. Daioni Organic milk re-entered the UAE market following a successful Gulfood trade show in Dubai last year; its organic milk range is now on sale in major Dubai retailers. Edwards of Conwy and Tŷ Nant water have also entered the UAE market with support from the office. The team is also helping companies tackle some market access barriers working with DEFRA colleagues in the region.

Work has continued building diaspora networks in the UAE and Qatar. The team regularly attended Global Welsh Middle East Hub networking events with diaspora in Dubai and new connections were made with Welsh diaspora at the Sharjah Performing Arts Academy. The team organised specific business networking events for Welsh diaspora and Welsh companies with a presence in the region throughout the year, including deploying our Welsh Government Envoy for the UAE to chair a business roundtable. The team also meet with the Envoy on a regular basis and refer new exporters to him for advice and contacts.

The offices in MENA have continued their work with Welsh universities. The team provided support to IBERS regarding agritech research collaboration and student recruitment and assisted visits from Cardiff University to Qatar and Kuwait, as well as Swansea University’s to visit to UAE. The team has also provided on-going support to Bangor University’s International Team and has been developing stronger alumni links.

The MENA team worked with Amgueddfa Cymru to host curators and educators from the Museum of Islamic Art Qatar in Wales - a legacy of the First Minister’s visit to Qatar during the FIFA World Cup 2022 - and supported the Urdd’s Rugby 7s women’s team visit to UAE as it participated in the Dubai Rugby 7s.

Other cultural aspects included ongoing planning for a visit to Wales by Qatar’s Katara Cultural Village to develop its partnerships with Amgueddfa Cymru and other cultural organisations and the facilitation of calls between the Welsh National Opera and the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation to explore potential collaborative projects. Ongoing support was also provided to Wales Arts International and Burum jazz band for a visit to Qatar to participate in a jazz festival.

In addition to the proposed inward visit by Katara Cultural Village, the team supported the inward visits of HM Ambassador to Qatar to Wales and the Crown Prince of Bahrain’s visit to the UK, with the team briefing the Prince of Wales to raise opportunities in Wales. The team also led discussions with the UAE-UK Business Council and the UAE Embassy to discuss a potential visit to Wales by the UAE Embassy London team with an in-bound business delegation from the UAE.

We now have a fully staffed team in India who have dedicated substantial efforts to forging business and political connections, as well as launching the 'Wales in India' campaign, with 18 events having taken place in the first quarter of 2024. The campaign was launched by the First Minister and the Minister for Health and Social Services at simultaneous St David’s Day events at the Indian High Commission in London and in Mumbai. It is a year-long campaign to promote ties between ‘Two Nations of Culture and Innovation’ with the objectives of fostering new trade and investment opportunities, promoting cultural, artistic, and educational ties, and supporting healthcare activities.

Throughout the year, a series of Welsh Government Investment Roundtables were organised, which drew more than 200 participants. These were held in key cities such as Mumbai, Bengaluru, Jaipur, and Thiruvananthapuram. The team also attended several exhibitions, including Bengaluru Tech Week, a cyber-security conference in New Delhi and several business events alongside the Department for Business and Trade (DBT). Notably, in Kerala, the Minister for Health and Social Services hosted the inaugural Welsh-Indo Med-Tech Conclave under the 'Wales in India' banner. Additionally, the Minister engaged with numerous pivotal partners who maintain a significant presence in Wales, further solidifying these crucial international links.

The team has supported several Welsh businesses with the potential to export to India across medtech, aerospace, renewables and food and drink, with plans launched for a trade mission to India in May 2024. The team also attended key global trade events that host a large presence of Indian companies including at ADIPEC, Gulfood and Arab Health. Alongside DBT, the team supported a delegation of 20 Indian businesses attending London Tech Week to visit Wales and see what Wales has to offer.

Throughout the year, a significant amount of effort has been made to raise Wales' profile across India and to promote education, culture, sports, and our values as a nation. A strong relationship has been formed with Maharashtra legislators around the Well-being of Future Generations Act, with 2 delegations visiting Wales on a fact-finding mission and a conference in Mumbai hosted by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly alongside the Minister for Health and Social Services and the Future Generations Commissioner. Maharashtra legislators are now exploring their own version of the Act as a Private Members' Bill.

The team has worked closely with Global Wales and various educational institutions to enhance connections with India. Their efforts have spanned from aiding research projects to collaborating on curriculum developments and fostering relationships with key incubators. Notably, the Minister for Health and Social Services met with T-Hub, one of the world's largest start-up incubators. Global Wales secured an MOU with T-Hub, which also included a visit to Wales for business discussions, during which they joined the First Minister’s Diwali celebrations.

With Wales Arts International, Literature Wales and the British Council, Wales took centre stage at one of the world’s largest literature festivals in Kolkata where one of our poets laureate led discussions on language and identity. The team also supported the Wales Over 60s Cricket Team during its participation in the Chennai World Cup and held several discussions with Glamorgan Cricket Club on in-market support. Wales also took part in Mumbai Pride, alongside diplomats from more than 10 different countries, and hosted an LGBTQ+ reception for community leaders during the Health Minister’s visit. The Minister also supported the announcement between the Urdd and Her Future Coalition, an organisation that seeks to support women and girls who have experienced gender-based and sexual violence.

The team has worked extensively with Health colleagues to support and deliver on their objectives in India including the announcement of an MOU between Wales and Kerala on the recruitment of internationally educated clinical practitioners during 2024-2025 consisting of up to 250 nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals through the implementation of the MOU framework. During her visit to India, the Minister for Health and Social Services met with the Chief Minister of Kerala to sign the MOU and hosted a reception for families of nurses in Wales and for those soon to come to work in Wales. A recruitment event in Kerala is being planned for June 2024.

In Japan, over the year, activity has focused on strengthening relationships including those following the Oita MOU signed in 2022. The MOU included an Oita delegation visit to Wales in October for meetings with Welsh Government, the National Museum of Wales, WRU and Cardiff University and an Aquarium joint project between Umi-Tamago and Anglesey Sea Zoo.

There were a significant number of other inward visits into Wales from Japan covering inward investment, R&D links with universities, tourism and culture. Business visits included Marubeni Europower, the Executive Vice President Daiwa House, Honda, Toshiba, Rohm, Sumitomo Electric Industries, NEDO, JETRO and Kyushu Institute of Technology with many bringing wider delegations.

Trade and investment work has had a particular focus on renewable energy again this year, mainly around identifying business collaboration in the Celtic Sea Offshore wind projects and supporting investment into Welsh projects. In February and March, the team attended the Celtic Sea Floating Offshore Wind business seminar and promoted Wales at Wind Expo 2024. Marubeni was also chosen by Bridgend to deliver an AEMS (Advanced Energy Management System) utilising Green Hydrogen produced under a Japanese NEDO-funded project. This will bring investment worth £147 million into the region and resulted in an MOU being signed between Welsh Government and NEDO for the first time.

Activity to promote Welsh strengths in compound semiconductors was another area of focus for the team, including participation at Semicon Japan in December 2023 and delivering a business seminar on power electronics in collaboration with DBT and SiC Alliance. The team also leveraged the UK-Japan Hiroshima Accords, signed in July, to forge links between Wales and Japan in cyber security, with the inauguration of Cyber Hiroshima (the Japanese branch of Cyber Wales) marking a milestone in the development of the Wales-Japan relationship in the Tech sector.

In October, we supported a multi-sector trade mission of 6 Welsh companies to Tokyo which included a reception for 60 guests at HM Ambassador’s residence, and the annual food and drink trade mission to FOODEX in March.

Our investment into our relationships with existing Japanese investors has continued across the year and we were pleased that Panasonic cemented its ongoing commitment to Wales by announcing up to £20 million investment in its facility in Cardiff to roll out a state-of-the-art net zero power system, as part of its ambition to use the site as a centre of excellence for green technologies in the UK.

Panasonic’s self-sustaining system makes use of hydrogen fuel cell generators, photovoltaic generators, and storage batteries and will strengthen Panasonic as a key supplier in assisting customers achieve net zero.

The team continued to support the strengthening of links between individual regions of Wales and Japan. Aberystwyth University signed an MOU in 2023 with Oita University and renewed MOUs with Yosano town and Matsumoto college in Nagano to continue summer school programmes, whilst Yosano town in Kyoto also signed an MOU with Aberystwyth on peace and friendships. In September, Himeji welcomed a visit by the Mayor of Conwy to celebrate 30 years of UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage accreditation of its castle, which is twinned with Conwy Castle. The Mayor met Japanese travel agents, visited local elementary schools and joined our Japan office’s business networking dinner involving the Himeji Chamber of Commerce and major Japanese companies focused on de-carbonisation projects.

An increasing focus of the team has been increasing awareness of Wales as a globally responsible nation. The team exhibited at an Earth Day Tokyo event with the Afan Forest Woodland Trust, founded in Japan by the late C.W. Nicol, and spoke about biodiversity. Meetings have also taken place with parliamentarians and NGOs who are keen to find out more about Wales’ experience of implementing its Well-being of Future Generations Act.

In January and February, the team met with the Government of Hokkaido and organisations representing Japan’s indigenous community - the Ainu - to highlight our support for minority languages and discuss opportunities for collaboration.

Part of the year has also been preparing for Wales’ presence at Osaka EXPO 2025 and the Wales in Japan 2025 campaign.

In China, it was the first year after the lifting of Covid-19 lockdowns, and 2023-24 was mainly driven by the market requirements of the education sector in Wales. There has been significant year-round support to promote Welsh universities and colleges on various joint programmes, sister schools, student recruitment partnerships, research projects, and alumni network development.

Meanwhile, a lot of effort has been put in place in preparing for meeting the demands by the emerging middle class, such as premium consumer products, medtech and public health care and services, as well as tourism promotion, plus the fields of new energy vehicle and consumer electronics.

In reflecting the requirements set by the education organisations, there were a lot of visits to China related mainly to the education sector. The team supported all visits and delivered education promotion events in market. Some highlights include:

  • Neath Port Talbot College: two market visits to Northern China and Shanghai - 30 meetings were held, and 8 MOUs were signed. One regional centre of NPTC’s Centre of Excellence for British Vocational Education in China (CEBVEC) was set up in Shanxi, and a Sino-British Centre for Industry-Driven Vocational Education was set up at NPTC by a partner (First Landing) from Beijing, building a good foundation and platform for NPTC to continuously conduct revenue-generation activities in the future, including teacher training, student exchange, curriculum mapping, and joint programme development.
  • Cardiff and Vale College visited Chengdu in March and June for the MOU signing with the Fan-Mei Education Group. Their joint education programme on aircraft engineering is due to be approved soon.
  • Four higher education promotion events were organised in Chongqing and Kunming in May, building up a platform for 8 Welsh universities to engage with agents, education authorities and universities in the region. Opportunities generated include an MOU between Wrexham Glyndwr University and Southwest Forestry University on joint education programmes in Renewable and Sustainable Engineering.
  • Cardiff University visited Shanghai and Beijing for Alumni events resulting in alumni database increasing by 120 and WeChat followers increasing to 5,000.
  • Cardiff University conference on ‘Biodiversity Protection and Poverty Alleviation through Urban Planning and Design’ in Guizhou to present Welsh advances in sustainable development and biodiversity protection.

There were several inbound visits into Wales, including Yunnan Provincial Education Department to Wrexham Glyndwr University, a delegation from Southwest Jiaotong University to Cardiff University. The team also supported the first summer school from Chongqing No.1 Secondary School with Gower College, funded through Taith.

On the trade side, notable success includes Health & Her signing its first contract and Green Earth reaching an exclusive distribution agreement. During the year, the team attended the 7th World Intelligence Congress in Tianjin, the China International Senior Service Expo in Beijing, the China Medical Equipment Fair in Shanghai, Smart China Expo in Chongqing, Food and Hotel China in Shanghai, Alcoholic Expo in Guizhou, and DRiNK Awards in Xiamen, to promote and identify trade opportunities. The team also attended the China International Fair for Trade in Services in Beijing. Export support was provided to Welsh companies across a variety of target sectors including medtech, greentech, IT, consumer products, food & drink and TVET. The team also recruited 4 Chinese buyers for attendance at BlasCymru in November.

On investment, the team maintained the relationship with existing investors including HKC and ABClonal to explore reinvestment opportunities. The team also proactively identified new inward investment leads. Six new leads were generated, with 2 from the automotive sector. With automotive replacing real estate as China's no. 1 pillar industry, the team sees big potential for Wales in the automotive and electrical vehicle sectors. Good relationships with China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) and China Society of Automotive Engineers have been developed to lay the foundation for future work.

The team also attended the Greater Bay Area Conference in Shenzhen, MedTech FDI Roundtable in Chongqing, and Investment Salon on Tech & Innovation in Chengdu, to promote Wales as an investment destination, and worked with DBT to bring a Consumer Electronics & Service Robotics delegation to Cardiff in March.

As China removed its Covid-related travel restrictions, the team re-started promoting tourism and highlighted outdoor adventure resources in Wales as a unique selling point. The team worked with Kendal China and Visit Britain on several offline events. This resulted in Kendal China bringing a business delegation on a 7-day exploration and business-matching tour to North Wales in October. A new trekking tour to the UK, including a 3-night stay in Snowdonia is being developed and promoted by Kendal China.

In terms of regional relations, the team was involved in Cardiff City Council’s visit to Xiamen to celebrate the Cardiff-Xiamen 40th Anniversary of Sister City Relations and the 5th anniversary of sister city relations between Swansea and Wuhan was also promoted. Exchange visits were made from Xiamen to Cardiff and Wuhan to Swansea to strengthen the regional relations.

Other activities to raise profile of Wales included attendance at the King’s Coronation and King’s Birthday Party in Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Guiyang, Kunming, and Chengdu, where the team hosted Welsh diaspora, alumni and key business contacts.