Wales strengthens ties with German state of Baden-Württemberg

DURING a visit to Stuttgart this week, Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, and Baden-Württemberg’s Minister for Economic Affairs, Dr Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, signed a joint statement of cooperation to further boost political, economic, social, and ecological ties.

The joint declaration intends to expand bilateral cooperation between Wales and Baden-Württemberg in areas including trade and entrepreneurship, science and research, education and youth, culture and civil society, as well as environmental and climate protection.

Welsh Government Minister for the Economy, Vaughan Gething said: “The signing of a shared statement with Baden-Württemberg is momentous in cementing our important relationship with this priority region for Wales. As one of our largest trading partners, it presents us with an opportunity to ensure continued, strengthened co-operation.

“Germany is a hugely important collaboration partner for Wales with an estimated 90 German-owned companies having a presence in Wales, employing just under 12,000 people. Around 20 of these organisations are owned by parent companies from Baden-Württemberg so I very much look forward to the opportunities that our engagement across areas including trade, research and education will bring.”

Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford and Prime Minister Kretschmann agreed to strengthen cooperation in 2022, and today’s Shared Statement of Cooperation builds on a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two countries in 1990.

Minister-President Winfried Kretschmann said: “The United Kingdom is and will remain a very important partner for Baden-Württemberg. It is important to overcome the challenges for business and science after Brexit together.

“In view of the current crises and wars in the world, the EU and the democratic states must now cooperate more closely, and valued partners such as Germany and the United Kingdom, Baden-Württemberg and Wales must move even closer together.”

Dr Hoffmeister-Kraut, Minister for Economic Affairs, Labour and Tourism, said: “I very much welcome the signing of an agreement on further cooperation between Wales and Baden-Württemberg. Wales and the United Kingdom are important trade and economic partners for us.”

In a one-to-one meeting, Minister Dr Hoffmeister-Kraut discussed innovation with her counterpart in Wales and said: “Transformation and structural change pose major challenges for companies in both countries. Minister Gething and I agreed that innovation is the key to a strong and resilient economy. That is why we want and need to strengthen the power of innovation through functioning regional innovation networks and continue to grow in international alliances with trustworthy partners.”

Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething added: “Wales is an outward looking and welcoming nation. We want to have the strongest possible presence on the world stage and where better to build on and strengthen our global relationships than Baden-Württemberg.

“We will continue to make the most of the multiple connections between our governments, organisations, people and culture – and ensure that our long historical ties continue well into the future.”

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