WQ83445 (e) Tabled on 22/09/2021

Will the First Minister outline the number of meetings Welsh Ministers and Welsh Government officials have had with companies owned, part owned or linked with China over the last five years?

Answered by First Minister | Answered on 04/10/2021

Welsh Government teams in China and Wales have engaged with Chinese-owned companies on a variety of Welsh interests such as trade, inward investment, tourism and sourcing of PPE equipment as part of the Covid response. Meetings have been undertaken on a one-to-one and one-to-many format.

The Welsh Government team in China, across the three regional offices, has, for example, engaged with potential inward investors directly as well as working with key stakeholders such as the UK Government to attend joint meetings, where appropriate, to position Wales as an investment location. The China team has also represented Wales at a number of conferences and exhibitions to promote sector strengths in Wales and met numerous companies through these activities. Recent examples include a presence at the Smart China Expo and China’s leading Food & Drink conference in 2021.

When discussing trade or potential investments, Chinese business culture means that it often takes a number of meetings to establish a relationship with a company before tangible project details are discussed. It is not possible to provide an exact number as unscheduled meetings are not always recorded, especially those that take place at conferences and exhibitions, but we have analysed our records and have provided an estimate.

Across our offices in China and in Wales, we estimate that there have been around 3,000 meetings with Chinese companies since April 2016. There have been no Ministerial meetings in that time. For clarity, as it is not possible to define whether companies are part-owned or have links with China, this figure only includes companies wholly owned by a parent company registered in the People’s Republic of China.