Welsh ex­ports rise by £663m... but will Brexit stall progress?

Bangor Mail - - NEWS -

A HIKE in ex­ports from Wales has been wel­comed but con­cerns raised about a fu­ture Brexit trade deal, with a vast ma­jor­ity of the in­creased sales to EU coun­tries.

Ex­ports from Wales are at £16.6 bil­lon in the year to June 2018 – up 4% or nearly £700m on the same pe­riod in 2017.

Welsh ex­ports to the EU coun­tries in­creased by £643m, an in­crease of 6.8% on the previous 12 months. Mean­while, ex­ports to non-EU coun­tries went up by £20m (0.3%).

Of to­tal Welsh ex­ports, 61.3% went to EU coun­tries – more than 11% higher than the UK share which stands at 50%.

Th­ese fig­ures have again em­pha­sised the im­por­tance to Welsh busi­nesses and work­ers of se­cur­ing a good trade deal with the EU af­ter Brexit.

This comes at a time when there are in­creas­ing fears of a no-deal Brexit, with time run­ning out to se­cure an agree­ment that would be ac­cept­able to the EU and UK Par­lia­ment.

Econ­omy Sec­re­tary Ken Skates said: “Huge con­grat­u­la­tions to busi­nesses across Wales who have helped to de­liver this £663m in­crease in Welsh ex­ports.

“Th­ese fig­ures are tes­ta­ment to their hard work and de­ter­mi­na­tion in what are chal­leng­ing and un­cer­tain eco­nomic times.

“Of course, th­ese sta­tis­tics again magnify the eco­nomic im­por­tance of our ex­cel­lent trad­ing re­la­tion­ships with EU coun­tries, which cur­rently ac­count for 61.3% of our to­tal ex­ports.

“We call again on the UK Gov­ern­ment to en­sure that Wales en­joys full and un­fet­tered ac­cess to the Sin­gle Mar­ket and the abil­ity to par­tic­i­pate in a cus­toms union, post Brexit, so that we can main­tain and build on the suc­cesses busi­nesses across Wales are hav­ing in in­creas­ing their share of the over­seas mar­ket.” Sec­re­tary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said: “Yet again, Wales is punch­ing above its weight in the global ex­port mar­ket, prov­ing that op­por­tu­ni­ties can also lie in markets out­side of the Euro­pean Union, due to the de­mand that ex­ists for our prod­ucts and ser­vices. “But there are still many op­por­tu­ni­ties not be­ing re­alised, and the UK Gov­ern­ment’s new Ex­port Strat­egy aims to ad­dress this.

“It sets out a UK-wide am­bi­tion to raise our ex­ports as a pro­por­tion of GDP from 30% to 35%, putting us to­wards the top of the G7.

“To achieve this, it pro­poses a new range of mea­sures to help support Welsh com­pa­nies on the world stage, giv­ing them the prac­ti­cal, pro­mo­tional and fi­nan­cial support they need to ex­port.”

Ger­many con­tin­ued to be the top ex­port des­ti­na­tion for Welsh goods and ser­vices, with 19.9% of to­tal ex­ports find­ing their way there, while 52.1% of Welsh ex­ports fell into the cat­e­gory of Ma­chin­ery and Trans­port Equip­ment.

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