Atlanta Chapter Welcomes Welsh First Minister

Posted September 26, 2016

“Wales means business” – that’s the message the First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones brought to America on a whistle-stop 5-day tour of Atlanta, Cincinnati and Chicago, Sep 5-8.

BABC-Georgia held a luncheon for First Minister Jones at the City Club of Buckhead, and many of our Board Members were there to describe to him the international business climate here in Atlanta. We had representatives from Cunningham Lindsey, UPS, Arnall Golden Gregory, Thompson Hine, Slalom Consulting, Warren Averett, and more that were able to speak to the First Minister during the luncheon. At BABC-Georgia, the message is clear that Atlanta is an incredible place to do business and really leads the Southeast as a hub for International Business. With FinTech growing rapidly in Atlanta, we are becoming the epicenter of this growing sector of the financial services industry. The business landscape in Atlanta is incredibly diverse; in addition to the FinTech sector, we also have Coca-Cola, Delta, UPS, Home Depot, AT&T, IHG, and so many more Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies based here. 
First Minister Jones' message is also clear: Brexit or no Brexit, Wales is open for business! Where can you find an impressive skills base, unbeatable financial incentives, a flexible business space, and minimal levels of bureaucracy? You just have. In Wales. 
Please see the General Media Release below for more information about the First Minister's visit to the US: 

As part of the drive to further raise the profile of Wales in three states of key importance to Wales, First Minister Jones will meet with a number of Fortune 500 companies; political leaders including the Mayor of Atlanta Kasim Reed; business associations including the British American Business Council of Georgia; and existing investors in Wales including Valero, S&C Electric Company and Zimmer Biomet.

He will also address members of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs about the future of Wales post ‘Brexit’ in a talk entitled ‘After Brexit::Europe, the United Kingdom, and Wales.'

The five-day visit is part of the Welsh Government’s plan to increase trade and investment between Wales and the USA - an approach which will be accelerated as part of a coordinated response to Brexit.

The United States of America is one of Wales’ most important trading partners. There are over 250 US companies based in Wales – including large multinational corporations like GE, Ford, 3M, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Kimberley Clark, Honeywell and Ortho Clinical Diagnostics. Many Welsh companies like IQE, Tinopolis, Elephant Insurance and Creditsafe are also investing and doing business in the US.

The Welsh Government has trade and investment offices across the United States, with personnel based in the British Embassy in Washington D.C., and in the British Consulate-General offices in New York City, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Chicago

The visit comes on the back of a series of record-breaking years for inward investment to Wales. The acceleration of investment in Wales can be attributed to the proliferation of innovative and hi-tech companies in the country. A recent survey by Nockolds shows that Wales has the fastest growing digital economy in the UK outside London with the number of digital enterprises in Wales jumping by 9.2% in 2015.

Members of the Friends of Wales Caucus on Capitol Hill today wished the First Minister every success on his visit saying that ‘the people of Wales and the United States have benefited greatly from their mutual bonds of friendship which span from the founding of our nation to the present day. In light of the recent vote by the people of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, the Caucus reaffirms the importance of the economic and cultural ties between Wales and the United States of America.’

Speaking ahead of the visit, First Minister Jones said: “We have been incredibly successful over recent years at attracting global businesses to Wales – and creating high quality jobs.  With inward investment at a 30 year high, our efforts in attracting business and investment is resulting in more and better jobs being created here in Wales.

“Announcements from Aston Martin, MotoNovo, TVR, Essentra, EE and BT have demonstrated our growing reputation as the go-to country for businesses to locate to and trade from.  But we need to do more to attract more investment in the future, not less. We need to take an ever more proactive approach to going out there, promoting Wales on an international stage, and reminding the world that all the things that have made Wales great, continue to make Wales great.

“Post-Brexit, we must sell Wales to the world like never before. Wales must remind the world we mean business.  That’s exactly what I’ll be doing this week in the USA.”

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