Belfast Telegraph

Trade with Ireland 'vital' to Wales

The importance of trade within the EU has been the focus of talks between Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones and the Irish Ambassador to the UK in Cardiff.

Ambassador Bobby McDonagh was making his third visit to Wales, where he highlighted the excellent relations between Wales and Ireland and how both governments want to develop them further.

Ireland is Wales's second largest exports market, with the latest figures showing that almost 1.9 billion euro in goods came to Ireland from Wales over the year.

There are around 50 Irish-owned enterprises active in Wales, employing 2,600 people.

Tourism is also another major link, with tourists from Ireland accounting for more than 20% of all Wales's international visitors, with 200,000 people a year spending 62 million euro annually.

Mr Jones said: "Ireland continues to be a vital economic partner and close friend.

"The value of Welsh goods being sold to Ireland stands at close to £1.5 billion a year and hundreds of thousands of Irish tourists coming to enjoy our country, spending money in communities across the country.

"My Government is deeply committed to making sure this relationship continues to thrive and grow.

"The EU is highly important to both our nations and we have many issues of common interest, from EU funding programmes that support jobs, through to rural and fisheries policies.

"The Common Market allows us to travel and trade freely between all member states and is essential to the future success of the both the Welsh and Irish economies."

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