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First Minister of Wales Impressed With Kiwi Business

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First Minister of Wales Impressed With Kiwi Business

New Zealand trip inspires Wales First Minister to build connections

The First Minister of Wales, The Rt. Hon. Carwyn Jones who is in New Zealand as a guest of the New Zealand Government today announced his intention to foster closer links with the country.

The First Minister has been very impressed with the diversity and entrepreneurialism of New Zealand industry and business leaders he has met and sees a great opportunity to grow links across a range of different fields from manufacturing to technology.

The First Minister says Wales and New Zealand are very similar countries with shared interests in sport, culture and business.

The First Minister said:

"Both New Zealand and Wales have a long and proud heritage as primary producers, but are now doing very well in tech, digital and creative industries."

"We share an intense love of sport, which as demonstrated by New Zealand's hosting of the Rugby World Cup, also provides opportunities for businesses to build bridges and collaborate closer together across international markets."

While in New Zealand, Mr Jones is meeting a range of leading key New Zealand business and political leaders.

"We have a business friendly approach in Wales and are investing heavily in infrastructure, including broadband, to create an environment where New Zealand companies can succeed. I know that New Zealand also has a lot to offer in terms of software and information technology as well as creative industries so I see an even closer ties developing in these sectors."

Mr Jones adds that with a population of almost 3 million, Wales, like New Zealand knows what it is like to be a small player competing against larger neighbours.

"Wales has succeeded in the competitive UK market and is home to about 700 overseas-owned companies from major players including Amazon, Sony, Toyota, Ford and International Rectifier. We are very proud too of the Kiwi companies that have worked in Wales including Pingar and Xero."

Wales and New Zealand are also both heavily influenced by song, language and creative arts, which stem from the indigenous cultures that are the foundation of each country.

The First Minister said:

"I have enjoyed being immersed in New Zealand culture over the past few days. My time at a local marae especially taught me that New Zealand and Wales both share a great love for song and dance. It is no wonder why both countries are excelling in creative industries such as music, art, drama and film with such a strong heritage."

The First Minister is in New Zealand until Monday night and is looking forward to supporting the Wales rugby team as it plays against South Africa on Sunday night.

About Wales

Wales is only 274 km from north to south and 97 km east to west but it is an integral part of the United Kingdom and Europe. Three of its borders connect with the sea and the eastern border links to England.

With a population of nearly three million, the main population, industrial areas and capital city, Cardiff, are in south Wales. Cardiff is just a two hour drive away from Heathrow in London.

Welsh is the national language. It is directly descended from the language of the sixth century, and is one of Europe's oldest living languages.

Welsh is widely spoken throughout the country and is the first language in many parts of the north and west. National TV and radio stations broadcast in Welsh, road signs are written in Welsh and English, and there are Welsh medium schools, books, magazines newspapers and websites.

The Welsh also have a strong sense of history. Wales was conquered by the Celts, the Romans, the Saxons and the Vikings and many of the ancient castles where the battles were fought are still standing, accessible to visit. Wales enjoys a dynamic and robust economy built on a foundation of stability. Interest rates and inflation, when set against historical figures, are low and taxation is amongst the most competitive in Europe. Overhead costs in Wales are also competitive in a Western European context.

While excelling in areas such as aerospace, automotive components, life sciences, software and information technology, financial and business services, the creative industries, environmental goods and services and advanced materials and manufacturing, Wales also relies on its primary produce industry to boost its economy. According to a recent statement by its Deputy Minister, the red meat sector alone is a valuable part of the Welsh economy; worth more than half a billion pounds a year.

Wales has a business friendly approach with limited bureaucracy. The country provides an ideal platform from which to serve the European market. Over 700 overseas-owned companies are located in Wales, including Amazon, Sony, Toyota, Ford, International Rectifies, General Electric, EADS, HSBC, Macquarie Bank and ING Direct.

About Hon. Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales

The Rt. Hon. Carwyn Jones has been First Minister of Wales since he was unanimously voted to the role after becoming leader of the Welsh Labour party in 2009. He was a barrister before becoming involved in politics, loves sport and arts and is the patron of the Kenfig Hill Male Voice Choir.

Throughout his political career, he has encountered a range of feats. In 2001, he was responsible for the Welsh response to the Foot and Mouth disease outbreak. He also saw Wales through the Global Financial Crisis of 2008.

ends

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