As Dr Atenshtaed stated, too little is being done by the Welsh Assembly Government to promote exports. Worst still, he said that WAG was too pre-occupied with reorganisation rather than delivering results.
In the past, some of us have said that the ERP is a case of simply rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.
Given that this point has been now reinforced by German manufacturers in Wales, what can be done?
This is what the Economic Commission suggests.
To encourage a more international approach to business that again makes Wales the most favoured location for inward investors whilst also supporting Welsh businesses in their exporting activities to ensure they take full advantage of the opportunities presented by a growing global economy.
A study from the European Commission  has shown the benefits of internationalisation by small companies for the development of local economies. The report maps the level of internationalisation of small firms in Europe and identifies the main barriers and advantages of the internationalisation process. It found that internationally-active SMEs report an employment growth of 7 per cent whereas the figure was 1 per cent for those without any international activities. It also discovered a strong relationship between internationalisation and innovation - 26 per cent of internationally active SMEs introduced products or services that were new for their sector in their country as compared to 8 per cent for other small businesses. Given this, it is worrying that, compared with many other regions, Wales barely engages in the global economy. The percentage of Welsh companies engaged in exporting is only 2.1 per cent - the lowest of any UK region - and well below the UK average of 3.4 per cent.
The Way Forward
Wales should take a leaf out of Scotland’s book, which is far more advanced in terms of internationalisation policies. Some potential policy options include the following:
- Development of specific internationalisation business support programmes, few of which exists at present within Wales, on the lines of the International Strategy Development programme in Scotland
- WAG could help to identify and map key global communities of practice, and then make companies better aware of these communities.
- International network development should be supported by establishing new modes of overseas missions which provide financial assistance to fund international customers, suppliers, collaborators and associates to undertake visits to Wales to develop strong relationships with Welsh companies.
- There needs to be greater co-operation with UKTI in terms of supporting trade missions business support
- Welsh SMEs should be supported in developing other types of international links such as licensing, alliances and joint ventures.