Memorandum submitted by the Wales North
America Business Council (WNA)
The relationship between the UK and North America
is changing in many fundamental ways. Globalisation has broken
down geographical barriers allowing a strengthened source for
investment and trade. The United States and Canada understand
the concept of federalism extremely well and empathise with the
constitutional change which has led to the creation of the National
Assembly. The development of closer ties with North America is
therefore essential to assist Wales in playing a stronger part
in the growth of the UK economy.
The WNA was set up in 1999 as a company limited
by guarantee to promote such links and to further strengthen the
trade and commercial network between the countries. It is a business
network founded by the private and public sectors in Wales. The
aims of the WDA are to assist its members through a range of services
Opening doors to contacts, opportunities
and professional advisers against a background of doing business
in Wales and America.
Facilitating the provision of information,
in particular on key events on both sides of the Atlantic, helping
members keep up to date with issues which are relevant to them
and their businesses.
Supporting North American businesses
in Wales by introducing them to the Welsh/North American business
network, to exchange experiences, obtain advice and provide a
forum to develop strong investment and trade links.
Providing Welsh companies with contact
with North Americans in Wales for advice about doing business
in North America and affording access to America's business network.
Direct access to the services of
British American Business Inc, which has 4,000 members in 33 centres
across the UK and America and the Canada UK Chamber of Commerce,
the foremost non-governmental authority on all aspects of trade
and investment with Canada.
The WNA's patrons are: the First Minister of
the National Assembly for Wales, Rt Hon Rhodri Morgan MP AM, HE
Philip Lader, the US Ambassador, the Hon Roy MacLaren, PC, High
Commissioner for Canada in the UK. Founder members include Ford,
NTL, Mitel, Dow Corning, Nice-Pak and Warwick International.
The WNA is based in Wales with a North American
chapter currently being set up, building on the contacts made
through the WDA offices, WalesTrade International and the Consular
offices there. High profile events in the market, such as the
upcoming BABC conference in Cleveland, are assisting the further
development of new business contacts.
Other unique opportunities which have arisen
as a result of the WNA's activities include the sponsorship of
a lecture by Tom Peterson in Newport. Currently the WNA is bidding
to host the 2002 British American Business Council Conference
which has only been held once in the UK in London.
The WNA represents the formalisation of ties
between Welsh and American business with a minimum of bureaucracy
as a member-driven organisation. It will enhance the efforts being
made by both the WDA and the NAW to capture further investment
and develop further ties with this important market.