Written Statement: The Welsh Government’s Approach to Trade Policy

Today I’m pleased to publish the Welsh Government’s Approach to Trade Policy.

The purpose of this paper is to set out our approach to trade policy, its grounding in the Well-being of Future Generations Act, and explain the cross-cutting policy objectives we believe the UK government should pursue when negotiating trade agreements.

Our approach to trade policy is underpinned by our ambition to increase prosperity in Wales, our values, our wider commitments to sustainability and our responsibilities through the Well-being of Future Generations Act. This includes growing our economy sustainably, enhancing exports and attracting inward investment; acting as a responsible nation on the global stage; respecting and protecting human rights; taking action to respond to the global climate emergency and safeguarding our valued public services.

In recent years, the trade environment has changed beyond all recognition. As the world changes, Wales changes with it. Our prosperity has long depended on trade, with opportunities opening up around the world and here at home. The collective challenge for us in Wales is to identify those opportunities and equip ourselves to take fullest advantage of them to boost the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of Wales.

Whilst only the UK government can enter the whole of the United Kingdom into trade deals, Welsh Ministers have the power to make representations to the UK government whilst negotiating trade agreements and the Senedd has competence to pass laws relating to the observation and implementation of international obligations. We have a clear interest in trade deals as they can impact on our people, places and businesses and create new international opportunities and obligations.

I’m publishing this paper today to provide the new UK government with an opportunity to consider our approach to trade policy before they decide on their own strategy. I look forward to working closely with the new UK government to help ensure that trade agreements will enable the people and businesses of Wales to prosper whilst acting as a platform for constructive engagement around the environment, consumer standards, human rights, health, and equality.