International business and foreign investment is one of Wales’ greatest assets. Despite non-UK owned enterprises only accounting for 0.5% of those active in Wales (at the end of 2019), they account for a substantial 14.3% of the country’s employment. These numbers have led not only to Wales benefiting greatly from international business, but also to the country becoming a highly attractive destination for companies wishing to establish in the United Kingdom; with non-UK enterprises operating in Wales increasing by 8.0% in the last year leading to, on average, a growth of 4.3% in employment in those enterprises. Wales also boasts that one of its major cities (namely Cardiff) can be found amongst the top 10 cities in the whole of the United Kingdom for attracting FDI.
Wales has a population of 3.136M with a labour force of 1.428M. Statistics show that 28.8% of the workforce are working in the public sector; The highest number of public sector workers in one location (49,000) can be found in Cardiff. In 2018 the country had a GDP of £73.1Bn.
Germany is the single largest destination for Welsh exports with 18% of the country’s EU exports going to Germany. The six main Welsh exports in goods to Germany are (in this order) transport equipment, road vehicles, electric machinery, iron and steel, medicinal and pharmaceutical products, power generating machinery and equipment. The trade relationship between Wales and Germany is far from one way, with German companies employing over 12,000 Welsh workers in some 70 companies ranging from supermarkets to bus companies and renewable energy providers.
According to the EY 2020 UK Attractiveness Survey, The Midlands is the most attractive region of the UK for FDI projects with four of its cities being found among the top 10 cities for FDI Projects outside of London. This places the region higher than those of the North, South, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. As well as attracting a large quantity of non-UK enterprises, the midlands is also home to a large variety of FDIs. According to data gathered in October 2020, the five most common areas of business in the Midlands are:
● Science - 132,846 businesses (13.82%)
● Wholesale Retail - 125,355 businesses (13.04%)
● Administration - 115,279 businesses (11.99%)
● Construction - 94,331 businesses (9.82%)
● ICT - 68,133 businesses (7.09%)