Welsh Government Economy Minister begins talks with business leaders in USA

Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething will today begin a series of talks with business leaders, trade experts and entrepreneurs in Atlanta and Birmingham (Alabama) to discuss how US economic policy is creating growth in places in need of investment and support.

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Ahead of the signing of an International Friendship Pact with the City of Birmingham, the Minister is meeting with regional leaders and businesses to promote Wales’ economic strengths and learn lessons from their plans for inclusive growth.

While setting out the Welsh Government’s mission to help young people plan ambitious futures in Wales, the Economy Minister will promote key areas of strength with links to the US market, including TV & film, semiconductors, tech, renewables and advanced manufacturing.

The talks follow yesterday’s news that Great Point Studios – which also has studios in Atlanta – has purchased Seren Stiwdios with support from the Welsh Government and Cardiff Capital Region to create state of the art production facilities and new job opportunities in the sector.

The Minister will speak to the Progressive Policy Institute at an event in Atlanta on Thursday, bringing together entrepreneurs, trade experts and city officials to share insights on supporting local growth and discuss how US economic policy is supporting their plans.

Wrexham based Moneypenny will also host the Minister at their Atlanta hub following a meeting with Airbus’s US team.

Shortly after signing a new International Friendship Pact between Wales and Birmingham with city Mayor Randall Woodfin, Minister Vaughan Gething will visit the Innovation Depot, a business incubator for tech start ups.

Speaking ahead of the visit, the Economy Minister, said: “From the TV industry to semiconductors, Wales excels in markets with US investors and clients that support quality, skilled jobs.

‘With our brilliant manufacturing skills base and abundant wind and tidal energy opportunities, Wales is perfectly placed to exploit opportunities that are already creating jobs here in the US.’

“Our International Strategy is offering targeted support to exploit the growth potential of these sectors so that more people can plan ambitious futures in Wales. Recent Welsh Government trade missions have led to new US investment in Wales from the gaming industry, with Rocket Science’s new HQ to semiconductors to KLA’s $100m investment in their Newport base.

“As we focus on securing better jobs and narrowing the skills divide to tackle poverty, I’m keen to learn more about how new US economic policies are partnering with states and cities to back industries of the future in places that need it most.

“Wales has so much to offer the world with a distinctive brand built on quality and ambition. Our longstanding and more recent export strengths – from aerospace to TV & Film – support the foundations that allows us to open doors for new exporters who are bolstering that brand week in, week out.”

The USA is now Wales’ number one export market.

Since 2021 businesses have invested $500bn in US manufacturing and clean energy, boosting jobs in areas most in need of investment.

In 2022 Welsh exports to the USA were worth over $4 billion, accounting for 20 per cent of Welsh exports and representing a 6 per cent increase compared with 2021.

There are an estimated 320 US-headquartered companies in Wales, employing just under 49,000 people.

Notable examples include Amazon (Swansea), GE (Nantgarw), General Dynamics (Merthyr Tydfil), Kelloggs (Wrexham), Kimberley Clark (Flint), Meritor (Cwmbran), Nordam Europe (Caerphilly), Raytheon Systems (Flintshire), KLA (Newport) and Triumph Actuation Systems (Deeside).

For the last 10 years, the USA has consistently been Wales’s largest inward investment donor. In 2022-23, Wales secured 14 investments from the USA, promising to create 836 new jobs and to safeguard a further 537 jobs.

The Welsh Government is ambitious for the compound semiconductor industry in south Wales and will continue developing it further with major companies who are investing in the cluster. The Welsh Government is working with the SPTS division of KLA Corporation, a division that provides wafer processing solutions to semiconductor and microelectronic device manufacturers, to support its plans to expand operations in Newport as part of an already announced $100 million investment creating 362 jobs.

The Welsh Government has become a signatory of an alliance of European regional governments, promoting growth, fostering collaboration, and developing strong value chains in the semiconductor industry. The Minister will call for a new level of ambition in the UK to boost investment beyond London and the South East in the industries of the future.

Rocket Science has announced that it will set up its new studio in Cardiff, with support from the Welsh Government via Creative Wales – creating 50 highly paid and skilled jobs for games industry graduates and professionals, working directly on, and solving some of the hardest technical projects for the biggest video games in the world. This inward investment project was secured following a successful Welsh Government-led trade mission to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco in 2022.

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