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