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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 March, 2004, 13:05 GMT
Wales joins NY skyline
Chrysler Building
Wales will be promoted from an office in the Chrysler Building
Welsh business and tourism are being promoted in the United States from a new office in one of New York City's landmark skyscrapers.

Welsh Economic Development Minister Andrew Davies opened the Wales International Centre office at Manhattan's Chrysler building on St David's Day to boost Wales' international profile with American business.

The office, which will house representatives from the Welsh Development Agency (WDA), and WalesTrade International - the overseas trade arm of the Welsh Assembly Government - will aim to persuade more Americans to cross the Atlantic to set up businesses and take holidays in Wales.

Mr Davies told BBC Wales that links with the United States were important to the Welsh economy with around 150 American companies investing in the country.

When you consider around 150 American companies invest in Wales, we need to be here fighting Wales' corner
Andrew Davies

He added: "It's signalling to America that Wales means business.

"We have taken a suite in the Chrysler Building because it's signalling our intent.

"It's going to be an economic powerhouse right in the middle of the business district in New York."

Mr Davies said the suite would cost around 250,000 a year, but said it was a "worthwhile investment".

He added: "When you consider around 150 American companies invest in Wales, we need to be here fighting Wales' corner.

"We think it's a worthwhile investment.

"Last year, our exports to America increased by 38%."

The 1048 ft, 77-floor art deco Chrysler Building is on Lexington Avenue, near Grand Central Station, and remains one of Manhattan's most recognisable landmarks.

Among the guests for the St David's Day opening of the office was the UK's ambassador to the United Nations, Emyr Jones Parry.

St David's Day was also marked in New York by the Empire State Building being lit in the green, white and red colours of the Welsh national flag.

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