Press release: New figures show rise in Welsh goods exports

first_img Exports of goods from England increased by 4.3% to £244.8bn; In Scotland, goods exports increased by 7% to £28.8bn; In Wales, goods exports increased by 4.2% to £16.6bn; In Northern Ireland, goods exports increased by 0.8% to £8.5bn; Through the Board of Trade, the UK Government celebrates exceptional businesses who are making great strides in innovation, creating jobs and strengthening their local economies, whilst championing free trade. Welsh exports continue to grow year on year, and the Board of Trade will replicate the UK Government support and recognition demonstrated in the Midlands when the meeting arrives in Swansea later this year. The positive figures come following Alun Cairns’ recent visit to South Africa where he joined the Prime Minister and a delegation of UK businesses for a key trade and investment mission.Today, he joins International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP at the Board of Trade meeting in Coventry where his focus will be on promoting cross border links between Wales and the Midlands Engine.Today’s meeting follows the announcement that the Board of Trade baton will be passed to Wales later this year where prominent figures from business and politics from all over the UK will convene in Swansea in November to recognise local companies with Board of Trade Awards (BOFTAs). The National Trade Academy Programme will also run a Welsh business showcase.In Coventry, Dr Fox is set to announce that three new High Potential Opportunities areas – in Leicestershire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire – will be promoted to investors around the world, in an estimated multi-billion pound boost to the UK economy.The scheme, coordinated by the Department for International Trade, identifies opportunities to attract foreign direct investment into emerging sectors, regions and clusters – creating new jobs and growth in every corner of the UK.Alun Cairns added: Yet again, Wales is punching above its weight in the global export market, proving that opportunities can also lie in markets outside of the European Union, due to the demand that exists for our products and services. But there are still many opportunities not being realised, and the UK Government’s new Export Strategy aims to address this. It sets out a UK-wide ambition to raise our exports as a proportion of GDP from 30% to 35%, putting us towards the top of the G7. To achieve this, it proposes a new range of measures to help support Welsh companies on the world stage, giving them the practical, promotional and financial support they need to export. New data published today by UK Government shows that goods exports have risen in Wales and across the UK. The figures show an increase in exports from Wales by 4.2% to £16.6bn, compared to the previous quarter.Welcoming the positive figures, Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said: Whilst in Coventry, Dr Fox will also announce a second international trade summer school, to run in summer 2019. This follows the success of this year’s National Trade Academy Programme summer school. Applications will open in February.Finally, Dr Fox will award nine BOFTAs, or Board of Trade Awards, to Midlands companies for their excellence in international trade, demonstrating innovation, creativity and entrepreneurialism.Further information:Export figuresThe figures show an increase in exports from all nations of the UK: Read the HMRC figures in full The Export Strategy sets out how the government will support businesses of all sizes to make the most of the opportunities presented by markets around the world. It presents a streamlined and targeted offer for businesses of all sizes, set to raise productivity, boost wages and protect employment across the UK. Board of TradeThe Department for International Trade (DIT) works directly with companies in 60 countries around the world. Last year, DIT supported 1,682 investment projects which created or safeguarded 81,206 jobs in the UK.The UK Government’s Board of Trade brings together prominent figures from business and politics from each part of the UK, including representatives from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.You can read more about the Board of Trade meeting in Coventry on DIT’s website.last_img read more

Myanmar, Russia pose early tests for Biden’s foreign policy

first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) — A military coup in Myanmar and a mass crackdown on dissidents in Russia are presenting early tests for the Biden administration as it tries to reestablish American primacy as a worldwide pro-democracy leader. President Joe Biden and his nascent foreign policy team have been confronted with two serious challenges in two parts of the world. The U.S. has invested decades of time, energy and money into promoting democracy in both Myanmar and Russia but now faces challenges in each that could affect the global balance of power. Yet, the tools at its disposal — sanctions — have proved unreliable in prompting change in the past.last_img read more

Rio Ready for Worst as Terror Threat Hangs over Olympics

first_imgA half-million foreign tourists, dozens of Heads of State and the attention of the world’s media. If there were ever a headache for anti-terror forces, it’s the Olympics.In the aftermath of deadly attacks by the Islamic State group in France and elsewhere, Brazil, which has almost no experience combatting terrorism, is beefing up security for the games that start in Rio de Janeiro on August 5. Plans include doubling the number of security forces on the streets, erecting more checkpoints and working closer with foreign intelligence agencies than Brazilians did in the 2014 World Cup. But will it be enough?Terror attacks have been rare, if horrifying at past Olympics. The most notorious was the 1972 massacre of 11 Israeli athletes and a police officer by a radical Palestinian group in Munich. A bomb planted by an anti-abortion protester killed one and injured 111 at the 1996 Games in Atlanta.“But Brazil has a lot of problems that other countries don’t have,” Ford said. “It’s sort of a perfect storm for anyone wanting to carry out an attack.”South America’s first-ever games have been plagued by a long list of problems, from the Zika epidemic and severe water pollution to slow ticket sales and questions about the readiness of infrastructure built for the games.Compounding the security concerns is the deepest recession in decades, which has forced the cash-strapped Rio state government to slash spending and delay paychecks, and a distracting political crisis that led to the removal of President Dilma Rousseff while she faces an impeachment trial. To make up for the shortfall, the federal government has had to step in with almost $1 billion in emergency funding, much of which will be devoted to security. Extra police are also being deployed from other states.To be sure, Brazil isn’t a newcomer to hosting mega-events. Every year it welcomes millions of foreign visitors during the weeklong Carnival celebration, and the 2014 World Cup went off with no major incidents.But it has almost no experience fighting terrorism. The country has long prided itself on having an enemy-free foreign policy, one that rejects military intervention.Not surprisingly, many Brazilians are on edge as the military buildup at airports and elsewhere become more evident. There have also been several bomb scares. The ritzy beach neighborhood of Leblon shut down streets for several hours last week after discovery of a suspicious bag that turned out to contain only clothes.“I never felt like this about terrorism before. I only worried about street crime,” said Fernanda Rocha, a pharmacist in Rio. “I have no idea how to avoid terrorists if they come.”Despite Brazilians’ easygoing attitude, better suited for a street party than an urban lockdown, Ford said there have been major improvements since the 2014 World Cup. Training exercises with U.S. and other foreign militaries to deal with chemical, biological and nuclear attacks have become more frequent. A joint-intelligence center has been created for the games, allowing intelligence services from around the world to share information and investigate threats as they emerge.Precisely because of Rio’s reputation for criminality, elite police units are more battle-tested than their counterparts in major U.S. cities.“They’re used to carrying bigger and stronger guns than we are,” said Bobby Chacon, a retired FBI agent who makes his home in Rio and spent a year running security at the 2004 Games in Athens.There are expected to be 85,000 military personnel and police fanning out across the city, double the number that was on the streets in London in 2012. While most will be concentrated at sporting venues, tourist landmarks will also be heavily patrolled.“They have the police in place and trained to stop a large-scale, coordinated attack,” Chacon said. “But there’s plenty of opportunities to cause harm, and they shouldn’t take anything for granted.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

Wisconsin holds off Florida at home

first_imgWhat a difference a year makes.A year after getting stomped in the swamp, the 20th-ranked Wisconsin men’s basketball team returned the favor taking down the 11th-ranked Florida Gators 59-53 in the Kohl Center Tuesday.The result was still in doubt with Wisconsin (2-0) up by three with less than 10 seconds left on the clock when junior point guard Traevon Jackson effectively iced the game with a 17-footer to give the Badgers a two possession lead over Florida (1-1).“He’s been in so many tough situations, I wasn’t trading [Jackson] in those last five minutes,” Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said.Though he hit the biggest shot of the game, Jackson was part of the reason the Gators were able to claw back into the game down the stretch, committing three turnovers with less than 10 minutes left in the game.Florida began to run a trap and full court press in the second half that caused problems for Wisconsin’s ball handlers.“I thought it changed momentum for us and gave us a chance,” Florida head coach Billy Donavon said of his team’s press.Jackson had trouble dealing with Florida’s press that forced all five of his turnovers in the final 13 minutes.“Obviously it was up and down,” Jackson said of his second half performance. “Five turnovers is terrible, but get it out of the way now … I have to take better care of the ball, especially when a team’s coming to trap.”A game-icing shot by Jackson seemed like wishful thinking in the first 10 minutes of the game when Wisconsin started 2-9 from the field, spotting Florida a 16-4 lead.“When you shoot an airball as your first possession as a team, I don’t know if that’s a good omen,” Ryan said.Michael Frazier II did his part to put Florida in front early, hitting three shots from downtown in the first seven minutes, but Wisconsin’s sharpshooter would have an answer.“Sam Dekker,” senior guard Ben Brust answered when asked how the Badgers dug themselves out of their early hole.After starting 0-2 with two turnovers to begin the game, sophomore forward Sam Dekker hit two straight threes followed later by an emphatic dunk to bring the deficit to 24-18.Dekker’s burst sparked a 25-10 run by Wisconsin to end the first half, giving the Badgers a 29-26 lead that they never gave back.“We started getting some stops defensively and settled in,” Brust said “We got out and running which had them scrambling on defense. We just settled down and started playing basketball.”Wisconsin went to the locker room with a three-point lead at halftime despite taking zero free throws in the first half.“I thought we could have done a better job of attacking and getting some things going to the rim where you do get people to use their hands more and that’s what we did in the second half,” Ryan said.The Badgers continued their momentum in the second half, reaching their largest lead of 11 with 11:57 left before mistakes allowed the Gators — finishing with 20 points off turnovers — back in the game.Though Wisconsin struggled to close out from the free throw line, going 8-14 from the stripe, and Florida’s Frazier doing his best to keep the Gators alive with a game-high 20 points the Badgers were able to fend off Florida’s late-game surge.Dekker led all Wisconsin scorers with 16 points and earned the praise of Donovan who coached the Sheboygan native on the U-18 USA team in the summer of 2012.“He’s reckless with body, he has no regard for his body and I really respect that,” Donovan said. “He plays really hard. I think his offensive game has really blossomed over the last year.”Freshman forward Nigel Hayes and junior forward Frank Kaminsky gave Wisconsin a presence in the paint but it was the 6-foot-1 Brust that led the team in rebounds with nine.“They’re not afraid of contact, they’re not afraid of size. Those things don’t even enter their mind,” Ryan said of his guards. “They’re not afraid to stick their faces in because they know they don’t have a Hollywood career later.”With the win over Florida, Wisconsin improves its home-opener winning streak to 16 games.17,249 fans filled the Kohl Center to watch the matchup of top-25 teams and helped fuel Wisconsin’s comeback win.“They sure got fired up tonight,” Ryan said. “We needed it.”last_img read more