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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 August, 2004, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK
Morgan in Chinese trade mission
Shanghai skyline
The first minister wants to boost trade between Wales and China
First Minister Rhodri Morgan is going to China next month to help boost Welsh trade and investment with the Far East.

Mr Morgan will head a 20-strong trade mission from Wales.

The assembly leader will also represent the UK at the official opening of a major international fair there.

He will help promote Wales as a gateway for China into the European market.

Mr Morgan leaves for China on 4 September and his trip will take in Shanghai, Beijing and Xiamen.

Welsh companies will have a major presence for the first time at CIFIT( China International Fair for Investment and Trade), the country's premier international promotion event.

Last year, Wales secured 16% of all inward investment jobs - more than any other part of the UK,
Rhodri Morgan

One of these is Irvin-GQ and Aircraft Material Ltd, based in Llangeinor near Bridgend.

It supplies parachutes and safety and survival equipment to the international military and aerospace markets.

Richard Allamby from the company, which employs 350 workers, said he was taking part in the trade mission because they had already had some interest from the Chinese.

"They've been looking at our safety and survival equipment which they could use as part of their disaster relief programme," he said.

"In other words, they could use it to drop food or large rescue vehicles from helicopters, for instance.

"We would supply parachutes, platforms - that sort of thing."

Mr Morgan will represent the UK at CIFIT's opening and will also meet senior Chinese government ministers.

Since the country's opening up, the Chinese government has been promoting foreign investment in China and encouraging Chinese enterprises to "go global" and invest overseas.

The Welsh Development Agency already has a team based there.

Irvin-GQ and Aircraft Material Ltd's products
Companies from across Wales are heading for China
"Last year, Wales secured 16% of all inward investment jobs - more than any other part of the UK," said Mr Morgan.

"My visit to China aims to build on that success and show that Wales can offer Chinese companies the ideal platform from which to access the European market of more than 400 million consumers.

"At the same time, we want to encourage Welsh companies to export to China in a wide range of sectors as there are immense opportunities in the world's fastest growing economy."

Mr Allamby said he had a number of meetings set up there.

"This is the first time we've been there and hopefully this will lead to other trips.

"We employ 350 at our site in Llangeinor and if we get lots of orders there's always the possibility of an increase in the workforce.

"We will have interpreters that can help us in our negotiations. We've been to India and Malaysia on trade missions.

"They're well worth it," he added.


SEE ALSO:
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HSBC moves in on mainland China
06 Aug 04  |  Business


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