Exports/Foreign Direct Investment

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th October 2018.

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Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands Conservative, Chelsea and Fulham 12:00 am, 24th October 2018

What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for International Trade on increasing (a) exports from and (b) foreign direct investment into Wales.

Photo of Alun Cairns Alun Cairns The Secretary of State for Wales

Since 2010, Welsh exports have increased by 41%, growing faster than the UK average of 36%. There are a whole host of exporting success stories and it was a privilege to support SureChill and Hydro on the Prime Minister’s recent trade mission to Africa.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands Conservative, Chelsea and Fulham

I thank the Secretary of State for that answer. Will he outline what specific measures he is looking at promoting at the forthcoming UK Board of Trade meeting in Swansea to promote trade and investment in both Wales and the wider UK?

Photo of Alun Cairns Alun Cairns The Secretary of State for Wales

I thank my right hon. Friend for the work he did at the Department for International Trade and his contribution to the establishment of the UK Board of Trade, which is an excellent innovation. It will be in Swansea in a number of weeks, so we have a great opportunity to highlight and champion to international businesses the best that Wales can offer in terms of exports.

Photo of Chris Evans Chris Evans Labour/Co-operative, Islwyn

The Welsh automotive sector is a real success story, but it depends on frictionless trade. What action is the Secretary of State taking to ensure that that continues after Brexit?

Photo of Alun Cairns Alun Cairns The Secretary of State for Wales

The hon. Gentleman will be well aware that that is a plan for and determination of our negotiations. That is exactly what we will seek to agree with the European Union. It is in the UK’s interest, it is in the European Union’s interests and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister is working to that end.

Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant Conservative, Lichfield

My right hon. Friend will be aware that one of our biggest exports is tourism, and the sector deal still awaits to be made. Will he undertake to speak to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to see whether the sector deal for the UK, and Wales in particular, can be enacted?

Photo of Alun Cairns Alun Cairns The Secretary of State for Wales

My hon. Friend, with his great knowledge and interest in Wales, recognises the value of tourism to the Welsh economy, and I meet him regularly. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is responsible for delivering on the industrial strategy, but my hon. Friend is right: Lonely Planet named north Wales the fourth top place to visit in the world in its recent report. [Interruption.]

Photo of Jonathan Edwards Jonathan Edwards Shadow PC Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Foreign Intervention), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

The latest HMRC statistics show a 7% increase in Welsh exports to the EU, worth £643 million, while non-EU exports have fallen. Is it not the reality that trade deals with the US, China and the moon will never replace lost trade with the single market and the customs union?

Photo of Alun Cairns Alun Cairns The Secretary of State for Wales

The hon. Gentleman will be aware of the export data that I highlighted—that exports from Wales have grown faster than from other parts of the United Kingdom—and I could cite a range of export opportunities in other parts of the world on which Wales is doing better than other parts of the UK. I am hugely impressed by the renewed interest in the UK by an international audience as a result of our leaving the European Union—Aston Martin, Qatar Airways and a host of others that I could cite are clear demonstrations of that.