The Secretary of State for Wales David Jones has today (13 March 2013), started a 10-day trade and investment charge to Asia - visiting Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam and Hong Kong.
On behalf of the Prime Minister, his engagements will support the ‘GREAT’ Britain campaign, promote the UK as ‘open for business’, build strategic investment partnerships, particularly in the emerging markets and encourage Asian students to study in the UK.
He began his journey by flying on the Welsh-made wings of Airbus’ A380 to Tokyo, where he will visit the UK’s newest nuclear investors, Hitachi Ltd.
Whilst in Japan, Mr Jones will meet with the President of Hitachi, Hiroaki Nakanishi, to discuss the supply chain, safety measures and build process that will be followed when new nuclear, in the form of the Horizon Project, takes place at Wylfa on Anglesey and in Oldbury, Gloucestershire.
Discussions will also focus on the £4.9 billion Intercity Express Programme (IEP) contract with Agility Trains, a consortium led by Hitachi, to build almost 600 new intercity train carriages for the East Coast and Great Western Main Lines. The investment in high quality, modern, higher capacity IEP trains builds on the ongoing programme of improvements to the rail network, including the electrification of the Great Western Main Line to Swansea and the Cardiff Valley Lines.
From there the Welsh Secretary will visit Manila, where he will continue bilateral discussions with senior political and business leaders to strengthen trade and investment opportunities for the UK. Mr Jones will also deliver the key note speech at the re-launch of the British Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines.
In Vietnam, Mr Jones will head the UK’s delegation to SEAMEO (Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization) where he will sign the formal treaty enabling the UK to become an Associate Member. In his speech, he will stress the importance of UK universities working together with other countries to enhance capabilities. He will conclude his trip in Hong Kong, where he will host a series of events with business investors to promote investment opportunities in Wales, and the wider UK.
Speaking ahead of the trip the Prime Minster David Cameron said:
I am delighted that David Jones will be flying the flag for British businesses and universities in East Asia. Promoting trade and encouraging investment into Wales will provide a vital boost to the economy and help us compete in the global race.
Mr Jones said:
The countries I am going to visit have some of the fastest growing economies in the world.
My activities in Asia will strengthen bi-lateral relationships, build a brand for Britain’s economy and promote our business interests.
Increasing awareness of the UK’s trade and investment potential will make us a country of choice by the emerging powers.
This supports the Chancellor’s ambition of achieving 1 trillion exports and our aim to get another 100,000 companies exporting by 2020. Within that we aim to more than double trade with the top emerging markets by 2015.