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Wales is an outward-looking and interconnected European nation, and this annual report provides an overview of our work at home and overseas to deliver our priorities, showcase our values and promote our nation in this globally connected world.

By building and developing connections to the wider world, we can showcase the very best of Wales by attracting jobs and investment whilst, at the same time, demonstrating our commitment to global responsibility. This means sharing learning and progressive values from a small nation and also our commitment to international sustainable development through work, including our Wales in Africa programme.

This year has continued to be impacted by global turbulence in terms of challenges including conflict, climate change and the cost-of-living crisis. Wales is not immune from these issues and, as an outward-looking nation, we have an important role to play through our international activity.

International strategy

Our activity is centred around the 3 aims of the International Strategy; raise the profile of Wales, grow our economy, and demonstrate our commitment to global responsibility.

We work to raise the profile of Wales on the international stage. Over the last year, Wales has increasingly been seen as a thought-leader in issues such as our ambition to become the most LGBTQ+ friendly nation in Europe and to eradicate racism. Our innovative policy approaches in many areas - from the circular economy to basic income - are attracting international interest and stimulating connections. We are making important contributions to international priorities such as indigenous languages, through the UN Decade of Indigenous Languages, and through our partnerships with other regions across the world.

We have continued to develop and expand our relationships with regions by signing new agreements over the last year, including Silesia, Flanders, Birmingham (Alabama) and Baden-Württemberg, that cover areas where we can share learning and collaborate across many policies from energy and digital to culture and language.

Our strategy sets ambitious plans to grow the economy in a challenging financial climate by attracting inward investment and supporting Welsh exporters to sell their goods and services overseas. Working with key partners, we are actively promoting Wales internationally as a prime destination for investment by highlighting areas of the economy where Wales has international class capabilities (including cyber, compound semiconductors, fintech, life sciences and renewable energy), showcasing these as opportunities for potential investors. Moreover, we maintain strong relationships with existing investors, providing support to ensure their continued presence and growth within Wales.

In November 2023, we celebrated 50 years of Japanese investment in Wales by joining one of our global companies, Sony, at an event in Bridgend to mark this prestigious milestone which has been developed by Welsh Government teams in Wales and Japan for decades. Turning to exports, our Export Action Plan for Wales has supported Welsh companies to explore new markets overseas, identify new customers and grow their exports. Last year saw trade missions to a variety of markets including the USA, Middle East and Australia. We also undertook a trade mission to the Netherlands that was specifically aimed at companies who are new to exporting to show the practical support that Welsh Government can provide in terms of accessing a market and identifying customers. The USA, Germany, Ireland, France and the Netherlands all retained their positions as Wales’ 5 largest export destinations.

The commitment to global responsibility remains at the forefront of our international activity. We have been sharing our ground-breaking Well-being of Future Generations approach with many parts of the world, as well as our progressive activity to support those in need, such as those fleeing conflict, or sharing our work on renewable energy innovation as part of efforts to tackle climate change.

In practice, this has seen us focus on activities which share Wales’ values and learning. Last year, we shared the Urdd’s Peace and Goodwill Message 2023 which plays an integral role in projecting Wales’ values around the globe. This focussed on anti-racism and was available in over 50 languages. As part of this. we were also able to support reciprocal visits between Wales and Birmingham, Alabama bringing young people together to learn about each other’s actions against inequality. We also worked with Academi Heddwch to develop international relationships - such as the one focussed on Peace and Health with the Norwegian Taiji Centre - reflecting our aim to promote peace through partnerships. Finally, we have responded to increasing global interest in our future generations approach, including welcoming a delegation of the Members of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly to Wales for a range of discussions about how the Act is implemented and could be replicated elsewhere.

Our overseas network, in collaboration with colleagues in Wales, is vital to our aims at home and abroad. Through building networks and establishing enduring connections, we have raised awareness and secured influence. This is the first year that all of our offices have been able to operate without Covid-19 restrictions, which has allowed for events to take place across all of the corners of the globe where Welsh Government is represented.

We have also worked closely with the UK government, specifically the FCDO, embassies and high commissions, to ensure that Wales is both understood and reflected in its activity. This approach respects that foreign affairs are not devolved but that the Welsh Government has an important role in our international relations with others – something that has taken place for decades.

The next year’s activity will look to build on what has been achieved over the course of this year, with a particular focus on Wales in India 2024 and Wales in Japan 2025, also recognising the challenging financial context and continued global uncertainty.

Prioritising international engagement

Our profile is increasing. The pandemic placed a spotlight on devolution, as have some of our innovative approaches. Cultural and sporting successes have increased global awareness and understanding of Wales - from millions of people watching a television programme and knowing where Wrexham is to our appearance at a number of major international sporting tournaments.

The result of this spotlight has been an unprecedented demand for international engagement both at home and overseas.

More than 100 diplomatic and international visits took place in Wales – an increase on the number of visits we used to average before the pandemic. Every visitor, and every delegation, has been keen to learn more about our country, our approaches and our investment and business opportunities.

Ministers have welcomed leaders from our priority regional relationships, including the Minister-President of Flanders and the Marshal of Silesia. Ministers have also welcomed diplomatic representatives from across the globe, including the Ambassadors of France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Japan and the USA and High Commissioners from Australia and New Zealand amongst others. Having face to face engagement with international partners at home or abroad helps foster closer working relations and communicates ‘this relationship is important’.

There were many other significant international opportunities secured over the course of the year. We have attracted a number of high-profile events that have shown Wales as a global thought leader and outward-looking nation. The Future Generations Leadership Summit in Swansea, hosted by Swansea University and the Welsh Government, with President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton was an important opportunity to talk about Wales’ global influence and shine a light on this part of Wales. We welcomed leaders from across Europe who are members of the Atlantic Arc Commission - part of the EU Council of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) - to Cardiff, demonstrating our commitment to enduring links with Europe.

International ministerial visits took place where there were opportunities to add value and prioritise engagement. The creation of our Strategic Partnership Agreements with Wales Arts International, the office of the Future Generations Commissioner and the Urdd has added another layer to our stakeholder engagement and our impact during overseas events. Over the course of the year, they have been present at key events extending our reach to new audiences and helping to promote our key messages.

Sport, once again, has provided an opportunity to achieve high-level and high-impact engagement. The Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism travelled to Paris and Bordeaux. She visited the new Aquatic Centre for the Paris Olympics, met with the Deputy Mayor for Sport, Olympics, Paralympics and Major Events to discuss the opportunities and legacy the Rugby World Cup and Paris Olympics 2024 will provide for the area. She spoke at the Tackle HIV launch event alongside former Welsh international and Lions rugby star Gareth Thomas, taking the opportunity to highlight Welsh Government’s HIV Action Plan as well as visiting Musée d’Orsay to secure an art exchange between Wales and France.

The Minister for Finance and Local Government visited Lyon to undertake a programme of events to promote Welsh culture and showcase Welsh food and drink ahead of Wales’ match against Australia.

The minister visited Lyon’s Rugby Village and attended a Wales Arts International showcase of Wales’ diverse range of cultural talent, with performances by Qwerin, Carmarthenshire-based Urdd youth choir Côr Hafodwenog and Welsh soprano and BBC Cardiff Singer of the World finalist, Jessica Robinson. The Minister met with the CEO of Boccard, which recently opened its first UK operation in Broughton.

This was an opportunity to reaffirm the welcome that Wales has given to Boccard and reiterate the support that Welsh Government can provide to companies who are looking for opportunities to invest in Wales. She also hosted a food and drink showcase in partnership with Hybu Cig Cymru, Food Innovation Wales and Welsh food and drink companies.

France was recently named as Wales’ number one export destination for food and drink, so this was an opportunity to bring together the best of Welsh cuisine, culinary and cultural talent at the home of French gastronomy - the Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie in Lyon.

The First Minister travelled to Paris and Nantes, which included a reception at the British Embassy and a visit to Louise Michel Elementary School to accompany the Urdd as it showcased its ‘Chwarae yn Gymraeg’; a programme that introduces language and culture to children through play and activities.

All 3 ministerial programmes, when brought together, provided Wales with an incredible platform to highlight Welsh food, culture and language as well as reinforce important relationships with our economic and political partners.

The First Minister visited the Basque Country and Silesia. The purpose of his visit to Silesia was to sign a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU), setting out how we will work together to develop our relationships through economic, academic and cultural activities.

A Memorandum of Understanding was also signed with the German state of Baden-Württemberg, with the Minister for Economy travelling to Germany to sign the agreement in November. 2024 will see further work undertaken by the Welsh Government’s team in Germany to develop this relationship further using the MOU as a basis. The minister also travelled to the USA, visiting Alabama and Georgia in a programme that focussed on civil rights and unity.

Raising our profile through key moments

St David’s Day was, once again, a focal point for the Welsh Government’s work to raise Wales’ profile on the global stage. Events took place across the overseas network, in London and in British Embassies, using this as an opportunity to highlight Wales’ strengths to the world around the message ‘do the little things’ and how these little things can add up to make global impact.

The Minister for Social Justice travelled to Ireland to host the annual St David’s Day reception, alongside a wider programme of engagements which featured meetings with a world leading clinical research company investing in Swansea, and with women leaders from commerce, government, cultural bodies and academia.

The Minister for Health and Social Services celebrated St David’s Day in Mumbai, whilst also launching the year of “Wales in India 2024”.

The First Minister once again travelled to Brussels for a programme of activities including speaking at an event on Wales’ Future as a European Nation, meeting with the Minister President of Flanders to discuss progress on the MOU, meeting with Wind Europe to discuss the opportunities in Wales for the wind energy sector and hosting the annual St David’s Day reception at the UK Ambassador’s Residence, bringing together VIP guests from EU nations, regions and institutions.

St David’s Day across North America continued to grow in its profile, helped along by the light currently shining on Wrexham. St David’s Day receptions were held in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Hartford, Salt Lake City, Washington DC and Montréal with guests from diaspora, US Cabinet members, business and alumni. Three events were held in Washington DC.

The first was a joint event with the Smithsonian showing the Welsh film, Y Sŵn, as part of “Mother Tongue Film Festival” and the promotion of the Welsh Government’s Cymraeg 2050 ambitions; a reception with the Deputy Ambassador with Welsh food and drink and a performance from 4 Welsh singers from the Urdd; and a reception on Capitol Hill with the Friends of Wales Caucus in collaboration with Penderyn.

The Welsh Government’s office in Los Angeles hosted a series of events in Salt Lake City, marking the historical relationship between Wales and Utah and including a joint business event with Utah state government and stakeholders. We continued discussions with the state government on plans to bring a statue of Martha Hughes Cannon (the first female State Senator in the USA, and originally from Llandudno) to the National Statuary Hall at the US Capitol later in the year.

In Canada, a reception was hosted to celebrate St David’s Day in Montréal with attendance from diaspora, government, business and diplomatic contacts. In addition to celebrating Welsh culture and traditions, it provided an opportunity to discuss opportunities for future collaboration with key stakeholders.

In Dubai and Doha, the team organised St David’s Day receptions at the British Embassies during which Welsh food and drink were heavily promoted. Subsequently, Hybu Cig Cymru has developed some promising leads in the UAE and Qatar with potential distributors and supermarkets for exporting Welsh lamb.

The Dubai event also promoted the Welsh language, with an international school choir singing Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau and three songs by composer Robat Arwyn in Welsh. The main speech was also translated into Welsh. Both events featured key members of the Welsh diaspora, alumni and the local business community.

In China, St David’s Day receptions were held in Shanghai, Beijing, and Wuhan, with HM Ambassador’s attendance at the latter events supporting the impact.

In Japan, the team hosted a series of events across the country including a reception in Oita to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of the MOU between Wales and Oita and showcased a number of joint exchange projects in the arts, culture, education, tourism and business. A reception was held at the Ambassador’s Residence in Tokyo for business contacts, diaspora and alumni from across Japan and highlighted a growing interest in Wales’ Well-being of Future Generations Act.

We also took the opportunity to support other national and international days across the year including Diwali and St Patrick’s Day in Cardiff building on our key priority relationships here in Wales. 

Office locations

The overseas network has undergone a slight change this year. In order to better align our overseas office locations with our objectives, we have changed the location of our West Coast USA office from San Francisco to Los Angeles. This gives greater access to a range of trade and investment opportunities that fully align to our priorities.


  • Beijing
  • Chongqing
  • Shanghai
  • Bangalore
  • Mumbai
  • New Delhi
  • Tokyo


  • Brussels
  • Berlin
  • Düsseldorf
  • Dublin
  • Paris
  • London

North America

  • Atlanta
  • Chicago
  • New York
  • Los Angeles
  • Washington DC
  • Montréal

Middle East

  • Doha
  • Dubai