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Goods export values by Welsh businesses have recovered beyond pre-pandemic levels and totalled £19.4 billion for the year ending September 2022, an increase of more than a third compared to the previous 12-month period and £1.7 billion higher than the year ending September 2019, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething has announced.

First published:
20 December 2022
Last updated:

The latest provisional figures show Welsh goods exporters have demonstrated significant resilience amid ongoing challenges in the global trading environment, from the war in Ukraine to currency instability and the increased costs of shipping and energy.

Inspiring businesses to take up exporting, where it is right for them, has proved to be a key part of this. The Welsh Government’s Export Exemplars campaign highlights successful exporters, while intensive support is available to businesses with the potential to trade internationally via the New Exporter programme.

Trade missions and exhibitions in markets across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia have also enabled companies to meet potential customers in-person, while Wales’ success in qualifying for the men’s FIFA World Cup provided a platform to celebrate and promote Welsh exporters across the globe.

Online support has also been enhanced through the Export Hub, a digital platform hosted by Business Wales that offers companies access to a comprehensive resource of expert export information.

Among the Welsh companies to have enjoyed recent export success thanks to Welsh Government trade support are Bridgend-based firms TBD Owen Holland Ltd and Spectrum Technologies Ltd.

Spectrum developed technology which helped NASA launch the most powerful space rocket in history, Artemis 1, in November, in a bid to return mankind to the moon for the first time in 50 years. Spectrum typically exports over 95% of its output annually, and is the world market leader in the development, manufacture and supply of specialist UV laser wire marking equipment to the global aerospace industry.

Dr Peter Dickinson, Managing Director at Spectrum Technologies, said:

For the last 30 years we have been exporting more than 95% of our products to the global aerospace and electronics sectors. In addition to all the aircraft that are manufactured around the world using our technology, we are very proud that our equipment is being used extensively in the production of space launch systems and interplanetary probes in support of space exploration.

Since starting up in Bridgend in 1990, we have received significant support from the Welsh Government. We very much appreciate the assistance that we have received, both past and present, to further our export activities.

TBD Owen Holland Ltd, which manufacturers aircraft ground support equipment for major international airlines, achieved £2.3 million in new export deals with countries including Germany, Israel, the USA, and Belgium.

Vicki Heycock, Finance Director at TBD, said:

Our business continues to expand through the supply of products to all regions of the globe. The rebound in demand during the last 12 months has exceeded our expectations and we anticipate this to continue in 2023 despite the gloomy economic outlook. Our continued commitment to investment in innovation across our product range is a key factor in our ability to satisfy international markets.

iVendi Ltd, in Colwyn Bay, is another company to have benefitted from Welsh Government export support. It won a new multi-million pound contract in Germany for the use of its financial automotive sector software. It streamlines car sales and finance packages with dealerships, and includes tools to enable the retailing of vehicles online.

James Tew, CEO at iVendi, said:

We have been delighted by the support from the Welsh Government export team. It’s really helped us access vital information with regards market intelligence and identify potential targets. This in turn has helped us accelerate our plans internationally.

The Welsh Government remains steadfast in its ambition to drive further growth in Welsh exports, particularly with the value of goods exports from Wales potentially much lower than would have been the case in the absence of the significant challenges currently affecting trade.

Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething said:

Global issues have had a major impact on Welsh exporters already contending with the issues brought about by the UK’s exit from the EU and the Covid pandemic. Despite this, we are continuing to deliver our ambitious Export Action Plan, as part of our Programme for Government, and it is testament to our exporting businesses that Wales’ export performance has exceeded its value before the Coronavirus pandemic.

Wales has so much to offer the world, and we will continue to work closely with our export support ecosystem to support businesses in Wales grow their international trade and to build on the solid platform that has been laid over the last twelve months.

Exporting can be a pathway to future prosperity for Wales, but the global trading market remains unpredictable, and our economy is still recovering. We need to be able to react and respond to global conditions to best support the needs of businesses on a journey to export success.