The problem selling Wales

By Graham Fahy

Wales is too small to successfully attract investment on its own, an influential committee of MPs has concluded.

A Commons Welsh Affairs Committee said the abolition of the Welsh Development Agency reduced Wales’s visibility in the global market place, with investment opportunities being missed due to the lack of a dedicated trade promotion agency.

"Wales is now one of the worst performing areas in the UK in terms of attracting inward investment," said David Davies, committee chair.

"The Welsh government must realise that it cannot work in isolation, and must work effectively with the UK government, using the advantages it has in terms of networks and resources, to improve the long-term prospects of the Welsh economy."

The report concluded that Wales does not have sufficient resources to work alone in attracting inward investment and suggested a dedicated trade promotion agency should be installed within the Welsh government or as a private sector vehicle.

The committee highlighted the commitment and loyalty of Welsh workers and the success of Wales in attracting highly technical aerospace, life sciences, steel and automotive industries.

It also found the region's coast, countryside and rich cultural history contributed to a quality of life investors found attractive.