Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru

Yn ôl i Chwilio

Y Pwyllgor Materion Allanol a Deddfwriaeth Ychwanegol

External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee

10/02/2020

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Alun Davies AC
Dai Lloyd AC
David Melding AC
David Rees AC Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair
Huw Irranca-Davies AC

Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol

Others in Attendance

Andrew Gwatkin Llywodraeth Cymru
Welsh Government
Eluned Morgan AC Gweinidog y Gymraeg a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol
Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language
Emma Edworthy Llywodraeth Cymru
Welsh Government

Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol

Senedd Officials in Attendance

Aled Evans Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol
Legal Adviser
Claire Fiddes Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk
Rhun Davies Ymchwilydd
Researcher
Rhys Morgan Ail Glerc
Second Clerk

Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.

The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 13:32.

The meeting began at 13:32.

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau
1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest

Good afternoon. Can I welcome members of the public and Members to this afternoon's meeting of the External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee? Before we go into our main business of the day, can I remind Members that the meeting is bilingual? If you require simultaneous translation from Welsh to English, that's available using the headphones on channel 1. If you require amplification for any purpose, that's available on the headphones via channel 0.

There is no scheduled fire alarm this afternoon, so, if one does take place, please follow the directions of the ushers to a safe location. Can I remind Members, please, to turn your mobile phones and other electronic equipment either off or on silent so it does not interfere with broadcasting? Are there any Members who wish to declare an interest at this point in time?

My normal declaration, Chair—the three groups I chair for the First Minister.

Thank you. We've received apologies from Mandy Jones this afternoon, and there's been no identification of a substitute.

2. Sesiwn graffu gyda Gweinidog y Gymraeg a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol
2. Scrutiny session with the Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language

We move on to item 2 on the agenda, and can I welcome the Minister and her officials to this afternoon's meeting, to a scrutiny session on her portfolio? Minister, would you like to introduce your officials for the record, please?

So, Andrew Gwatkin is director for international relations, and Emma Edworthy is deputy director in charge of trade.

Thank you for that, and we will cover both areas. We understand that you may wish to actually present a video, so, do you want to introduce the video for us?

Yes. So, this was an idea that came from Huw Irranca in a meeting that I was at the other day, who suggested that committee might like to see this video. It's a very short piece, just introducing the international strategy.

Dangoswyd cyflwyniad clyweledol. Mae’r trawsgrifiad mewn dyfynodau isod yn drawsgrifiad o’r cyfraniadau llafar yn y cyflwyniad.

An audio-visual presentation was shown. The transcription in quotation marks below is a transcription of the oral contributions in the presentation.

'We are a confident, outward-looking nation. A nation of makers, creators and big ideas. Our strength is in our people—welcoming, inquisitive and creative. It's time to shout louder about the great things we do and raise Wales's profile as an innovative and globally responsible nation. From leading the way in promoting indigenous languages and our well-being of future generations Act to planting millions of trees and supporting sustainable development in Africa, we have a lot to tell the world. And it's not just our values—our vibrant and diverse economy and highly skilled workforce make Wales a great place to invest. Our businesses produce high-quality products and export across the world. Our cyber security cluster is at the forefront of this industry. Our universities and businesses share knowledge in cyber security innovation. From your smartphone and Wi-Fi to autonomous vehicles and healthcare, compound semiconductors are in many everyday objects that have a green impact on the way we live and work. Wales is a leader in this growing industry. We have an international reputation for producing TV drama, from Doctor Who and Sherlock to His Dark Materials. Our creative industries employ more than 58,000 across Wales and continue to grow. Our future success as a nation is rooted in our engagement with the wider world. Now is the time to raise our levels of ambition and show the world what Wales has to offer.'

13:35

So, that's just an example of us—. What we're trying to do is to make sure that, when we're telling the world about our new strategy, there's some audiovisual help to go with that. There's another video, if you want to watch it later, which promotes the different sectors, which is really upbeat, but I don't want to take any more of the scrutiny time. So, maybe you could watch that after I've left.

That might probably be best because, as you say, we want to take the opportunity to raise some questions with yourself. On that video—[Inaudible.] Perhaps I'll start off. The question is: how many countries so far have you actually been able to engage with and launch the strategy with and ensure that they have been made aware of that strategy?

So, before Christmas, we hosted a reception in London, where we had about 30 different nations represented that came and heard about what we were hoping to put into the video, into the strategy. We launched it officially in Belgium and then went on to France. In the next few weeks, I'll be demonstrating what we're hoping to achieve in Canada and the United States, and also in Ireland and in London. So, we've got a whole range of activities that we're looking at. But, obviously, I meet with ambassadors all of the time; I'm talking to them about what we're planning to do with the strategy as well.

That's good to hear, that you're meeting with ambassadors, because the number of countries you identified were limited, if you are talking about our global picture in a global economy. And I suppose your visits scheduled for the next 12 months will be an indication as to how far you see this spreading. You've given us an indication of the next few weeks. How do you see the next 12 months actually working out, and how do you intend to promote this strategy over the next 12 months?

So, one of the things I'm really keen to do is to make sure that I'm setting the agenda and I'm not responding to anybody else's agendas. So, I'm working very clearly to the strategy. So, the countries, the regions, that I'm focused on are the regions that we've set out in the strategy. So, I've already met with Flanders. I'm hoping to meet with the Basque Country—they've come here already. We've got the leader of Brittany coming over for St David's Day, and I'm hoping to go back there over the summer. And then, obviously, Ireland is another key nation for us. And we have the German ambassador coming to Wales tomorrow. So, we're really keen to make sure that that is a really, really key relationship for us. It's our largest export market by a long way.

Thank you for that. Perhaps I was looking for more over the next 12 months and beyond some of the priority regions you identified, and beyond some of our closest nations, perhaps, to see where you are going beyond that to see how the strategy could be global and could be—. Because that video is talking to the world, effectively, and trying to make us aware. So, I was hoping that you might look towards the east, in particular, as to where the economies of the east, where we're working on—. I know about Japan and the world cup issue, but are we pursuing more agendas in that area or are we going elsewhere in the east—is Australia, New Zealand, being talked about?

There are only so many weeks in a year, and I'm absolutely determined to stick to the priorities that we've set out. But what I think is important is that we also recognise when there are opportunities. So, Expo 2020, for example, is going to be based in Dubai, I think, in the autumn, and the Welsh National Opera are going to be going there to be opening the event. So, I might go there as a response to that. And there's a possibility also of going to see where the additional trees that we are funding in Uganda may be planted. So, those are other possibilities later on in the year as well.

Yes, thank you for that. What's your vision for this strategy, Minister?

But what does that mean? What is your vision? Because a strategy is a means to an end, isn't it? It's the endpoint I'm asking you about.

The endpoint, as set out in the five-year plans that have been set out at the beginning of the report—so, I want Wales to be recognised as a globally responsible nation committed to sustainability and equality, but also recognised on the world stage. So, raising our profile globally is essential as well. But crucially, there is also an economic angle to this that will be of benefit to the people of Wales, and that is absolutely central to what I'm trying to achieve.

13:40

There are, and they're pretty clear. So, I think that would be a way of measuring it. Some of the other things are less easy to measure because a lot of this is about soft power. So, what we achieved in Japan in terms of raising our profile was significant, but how do you measure that? The fact that we had 15,000 people singing 'Calon Lân' in a stadium, well, it was really difficult to measure it, but, actually, I think it made an impact, and now we've got those people coming back to Wales in the next few weeks.

So, soft power is notoriously difficult to measure, which is why we have set out, where we can, the targets that we're able to. But I think there are other ways of measuring. So, for example, what you can do, it may be difficult to measure impact, but you can say, 'Right, every month, we will be writing to the British Council to be saying, "This is what we would like you to be promoting this month"'. So, I can measure the input; it's much more difficult to measure the outputs.

I accept that the causal links can be quite difficult to identify, but I find it difficult to accept that it's not possible to measure the ambition of the Government's activities. I'm not sure I would accept that, because without delivery plans in place, it's very difficult for us to hold you to account. A strategy sometimes becomes an end in itself, and we talk about the strategy rather than the purpose of the strategy. And I worry that, by only having three measurable targets in it, it's going to be very difficult to hold the Government to account for what it's actually achieving.

Your example about Japan is interesting, and I think you're probably right—15,000 people singing 'Calon Lân' is lovely to hear. The consequences, the impact, we don't know. But we knew the world cup was there, we know that the European championships, or whatever in football, are later in this year. Why can't the Welsh Government publish detailed plans with objectives for what it's doing over the coming years, whether it's taking advantage of international events, as we've described, or whether it is maximising the input of its work in different markets?

Well, I'm absolutely focused on delivery now, and what we are trying to do is to deliver. What I don't want is to wrap people up in writing delivery plans; I'd rather them just get on with it.

Sorry, Minister. This is Government, it's not just rushing off to do things. You must be planning. If you're going to have an impact and you're spending public resource, you must have plans for that expenditure, why you're doing it, what you want to achieve by it and how you know you've achieved it. Now, I know from my experience in Government, that is pretty normal. So, why haven't we delivery plans in this area, and why haven't we more identified timetables, deadlines, objectives, ambitions and targets by which you can be held to account?

We're already making inroads and making a difference. So, if you look at last week, for example, we had a meeting with arts organisations, sports organisations, people who are acting internationally, and what we're doing is co-ordinating our efforts. So, the Football Association of Wales were there, and we were explaining, 'Right, this is our plan in relation to what we're planning to do in the Europa football cup'.

Well, I mean, I think it's still early days in terms of we're just making sure that everybody is lined up in terms of where we're heading. So, all of that is actually happening. I spoke to the Italian ambassador last week about how they can help us with promoting Wales during that football UEFA cup. So, all of that is actually happening.

Well, I think what we'll do, once we've got better visibility—. We're at the stage at the moment where we're co-ordinating what people are planning in their different areas in terms of sports, arts. We're all organising that, and we're trying to make sure that we can add value where we can, because a lot of them will be doing it anyway, and we'll let you know once we've got a better view of what that will look like, but we're not in that place yet.

13:45

Well, some of that will be done already, but some of it—. We're discussing with the museums, for example, they're planning to do an event in Japan in 2022, so that's a much longer time frame. So, what we're trying to work out is what we can effect now, but what we can work around for the long term.

So, if you look at, for example, trade missions, if we know that the museums are planning to do something in 2022, we can work our trade mission, possibly, around that in a few years' time. The Welsh National Opera are planning to go to Dubai, we're going to work something around that. There are other areas where, actually, what we'll be doing is we'll be going on trade missions and saying, 'Right, who else wants to come with us?' So, it's not going to be a clear, 'This is how we're going to do it in every event.'

You're right it isn't clear. You've described a number of events and activities that have been the business of Government for the whole of my time in this place, quite honestly, that have happened time and time again, when either there's been a sporting or an arts international event anywhere in the world, where the Welsh Government has done various things around it. That has already been happening over—

I don't think there has been a systematic approach to it in the way that we're doing now.

Well, that's probably true, but without a clear idea of what your plans are, it's difficult for us to be convinced that there's a systematic plan in place today—

Well, this is about a partnership. This is about finding out what other people are doing in this space—

But it's also, Minister, with all due respect, about your accountability to this place, and unless you're able to tell us what you are planning to do to deliver this vision, then it's very difficult for us to hold you to account, because when we ask for plans, we expect a Government to be able to say, 'We have this ambition, we have this vision, this is how we'll know we have achieved it. This is the investment we are making into it. These are the objectives, these are the events. These are the people we're working with, and we expect to be able to achieve that in a number of years.'

Simply having had a meeting with the Italian ambassador last week isn't a plan, it's—

No, but I tell you what is a plan is the meeting we had with the organisations last week that will now be built up into a systematic approach to who's going where when and how we can add value. Where we can't add value, we'll maybe ask other people like the British Council to step in on our behalf. So, all of that—but, it's very early days, Alun. That was the first meeting that we've had with those organisations. So I can't be expected to come up with a plan after our first meeting.

But, the development of this strategy has been ongoing for, certainly, a year since—

And some of this has been happening already. If you look at what happened in Japan, that's already been delivered and has been done.

But, surely, it is right and proper, in terms of the accountability of Government to this place, that we are able to hold you to account, and without understanding what your ambitions are, what your objectives are and what your targets are—. These are all public resources, so I would anticipate that an open, transparent Government would want to make these targets—

There's no secret here. There's no secret. I'm not trying to hide anything. It's simply that we are in a situation where we are co-ordinating the activities of partners across the whole of Wales. That's not something that just Government does, we have to do it with other people. And as I explained, we've had our first meeting. We'll be having another one in six months' time to look at exactly—and maybe we'll be in a better place then to set out, 'Right, this is what has already been achieved and these are the longer term plans.'

So, why did you choose the three targets, the specific targets you've chosen? What was the rationale between publishing those and not publishing any others? Why those?

13:50

Because those are easier to measure. So, we know we can plant 15 million trees, and that's something that we can measure. On exports, I think we were trying to look at examples of where we will be able to monitor the inputs and hopefully make sure that we can have some outputs that are measurable, and those are in keeping with the export targets that the UK Government has, so I think that was easier to look at.

Inward investment is really difficult at this point in time, I'm sure you'll agree. And I think there's a very clear, measurable target in terms of the diaspora, with 500,000 connections. So, those exist, and those are easy to measure. The other things I think are more difficult to measure, because it's soft power.

But the Government's input into those—. I don't disagree with you in terms of the causal link, as we discussed earlier, but the Government's inputs into those matters are very easy to measure, because you control them with the action and the work. The deployment of the resources of Government is exceptionally easy to measure because it's your decision; it's all in your control. So, if you're going to deploy resources to the UEFA championships in the summer, you can measure what you're going to do, you can measure what you're going to contribute to other organisations, and because you're inputting public resource, I would expect you to have a very clear objective as to why you're doing that, and the rationale for it. So, all of those inputs are very easy to measure and very easy for you—

Well, to be fair, Alun, we didn't even know that we were in the UEFA cup until, what, December?

November. And we've then got to make a decision—do we go to Azerbaijan as well as Italy? It's very difficult to say, 'This is going to be our plan' if you don't even know that we're making it to the UEFA cup.

Before you go on, David, do you want to come in with a point here?

It was just on targets. I'm sorry to interrupt the—. I'm glad you confirmed the export target as a target of GDP, not on the actual value of exports, because I understand that's the UK Government's approach as well. So that would have been my first question, but I think you have answered it by referring to the UK 5 per cent target as well.

The 15 million trees in Uganda—will that be used by the Welsh Government as carbon offsetting?

We do a little bit of carbon offsetting already with the Uganda trees, so, ministerial visits and things. Some of that is used—so, we plant trees in Africa for that.

Well, is that responsible—to offset in that manner, instead of integrating our decarbonisation at home?

This is part of the climate change—. We've got 100 different measures that we're trying to implement in relation to climate change. Carbon offsetting can be done both here in Wales, as it is—. We've got the Plant scheme, where, for every child that's born in Wales, a tree is planted both in Wales and in Uganda. So, it's not one or the other, it's based—

Yes, but carbon offsetting is quite controversial, isn't it? The Norwegian Government has been heartily criticised for owning half of Guyana's rainforest. I think it's, on one level, admirable if you're also doing it at home, but to export your carbon offsetting is somewhat problematic. I suppose that's the point I'm making.

The point here is that we are not reforesting Wales at anything like an adequate pace. This has been known for the last 40 or 50 years; it's not just this Government. But, actually, we're massively under-forested, and there's not much forestation going on. We can end up—. You say we're a responsible nation, but you could equally argue that we're deflecting from an area of really poor public performance and virtue signalling by pointing to this effort in Uganda. It can be quite mixed up, can't it? I suppose that's what I'm driving at.

13:55

I think if we were doing one without the other, that would be problematic, but I know the First Minister is absolutely committed to developing a national forest for Wales. So, I think that gives me comfort to know that this is not something we're doing elsewhere and not doing at home. But I do think, if you look at—. You have got to look at climate change in a global context as well, and you can have as much impact, if not more, by planting it in those areas that are really vulnerable.  

Before I go on to Dai Lloyd, Alun asked some questions on the plans and the delivery, and the answers I've heard give me an indication that our plan seems to be dependent on other plans of other organisations at this point in time, and we may be coming together with some plan that they may want to link into for the future. I appreciate the strategy has only just been published, although it has been ongoing for about 12 months. When will be in a position to have a plan that we can see that does not rely on other people's plans?

If you think about it, we couldn't organise to go to Italy without knowing whether we've qualified for the Europa cup, so obviously we're dependent on other people in some regards. So, I think it's really important—. It makes sense for us to work with other people and to add value to the work that other people are doing. The whole point of this strategy is that it's supposed to be a team Wales approach and, of course—

Let me give you an example. You picked on the UEFA championships and I understand that; that's clearly coming up. But we know of events—the Commonwealth Games, Olympic Games, other types of events like that—that we know will be happening, there are set dates for them, and we don't need to rely on whether Wales will be there; there's still a place at which we can demonstrate our global position in these events. So, when can we expect to see a plan that's going to say, 'We're going to target this event, that event, and we're going to pull people in to work with us'?

The Commonwealth Games, we've already had discussions with the people in relation to that. For me, what we don't want to do is to miss the opportunities that are happening this year. Sometimes, you have to be opportunistic and to move fast, which is why we are moving fast on the Italian approach. On the Dubai 2020 exhibition, we've just realised, 'Let's bounce on the back of the fact that the Welsh National Opera is there.' So, it is dependent to a large extent on other people, and for us to add value to what they're doing as well. I don't think that's a problem; I don't think it's something we should be ashamed of. 

There's nothing wrong with opportunism—I'm all in favour of opportunism—but we want to know that you are maximising that and you're doing it as part of a strategy to be opportunistic, rather than opportunistic is a strategy for you, if you get my feeling. Unless we have clear targets and, you know—. I accept about the timetables and all of that—we're all familiar with that—but one would anticipate the Welsh Government being able to be agile, fleet of foot, being able to respond quickly to different events. And, you know, we are halfway really between qualification and the championships taking place, and I haven't heard much reassurance this afternoon that we're actually being as agile as perhaps we need to be if we are to meet the ambition of the vision we saw earlier. And I think we need to see that for that to give us that comfort. 

And I think he's made a point, rather than—. We've had the answer several times, but I think that's a point. Dai. 

Diolch, Cadeirydd. Yn adeiladu ar nifer o'r atebion rydych chi wedi eu crybwyll eisoes ynglŷn â'r angen yma i gydlynu gweithgareddau sydd yn barod yn digwydd, a phethau uchelgeisiol i'r dyfodol ynglŷn â'r strategaeth ryngwladol, sut ydych chi'n meddwl cydlynu y gweithgareddau sy'n digwydd ar hyn o bryd, a beth fuasech chi'n licio gweld yn digwydd? Sut mae'r cydlynu yna yn mynd i ddigwydd o fewn Llywodraeth Cymru a rhwng Llywodraeth fan hyn a Llywodraeth San Steffan, achos mae eisiau rhyw ffordd o fesur bod beth rydych chi'n wneud yn mynd i wella beth sy'n mynd i ddigwydd yn barod? 

Thank you, Chair. Building on many of the answers you've already given as to the need to co-ordinate activity that is already taking place, and ambitions for the future in terms of the international strategy, how do you intend to co-ordinate the events that are currently taking place, and what you would like to see happening? How is that co-ordination going to happen within the Welsh Government and between this Government and the Westminster Government, because we need some way of measuring what you are doing to improve what is already taking place? 

So, mae'r cyfarwyddwr wedi datblygu matrix nawr o beth rydym ni'n bwriadu ei wneud, pwy sydd yn gyfrifol am hynny, a tu fewn i hynny bydd un person gyda chyfrifoldeb ym mhob mudiad am gydlynu. So, os ydych chi'n meddwl am pwy sy'n gyfrifol am co-ordination gyda'r FCO, pwy sy'n gyfrifol am co-ordination gyda'r British Council, pwy sy'n gyfrifol—. So, dwi wedi gofyn am enw person i wneud yn siŵr bod hynny'n digwydd. Dwi newydd gael cyfarfod gyda Simon Hart, y Secretary of State for Wales, i wneud yn siŵr bod e'n bosibl i gydlynu lle bo hynny'n bosibl rhwng ei swyddfa e a'm swyddfa i, ond i sicrhau bod beth mae e'n ei wneud yn ychwanegu at yr hyn rŷn ni'n ei wneud. Felly, mae 21 o swyddfeydd gyda ni o gwmpas y byd. Felly, dwi'n hyderus bod ein neges ni'n mynd i gyrraedd yr embassies yn yr ardaloedd hynny, ond mae llond lle o wledydd lle dŷn ni ddim yna, a gallai'r Secretary of State, gobeithio, ychwanegu yn y meysydd yna. So, roedd hynny'n rhywbeth roeddem ni'n ei drafod y bore yma.

The director has now developed a matrix of what we intend to do, who is going to be responsible for what, and within that there will be an individual who will have responsibility for co-ordination within each organisation. So, if you think about who's responsible for co-ordination with the FCO, who's responsible for co-ordination with the British Council, and so on and so forth. So, I've asked for a named individual to ensure that that happens. I've just had a meeting with Simon Hart, the Secretary of State for Wales, in order to ensure that it's possible to co-ordinate, where appropriate, between his office and my office, but also to ensure that what he does adds value to what we do. So, we have 21 offices across the world. Well, I'm therefore confident that our message is going to reach the embassies in those areas, but there is a whole host of nations where we don't have a presence, and the Secretary of State, hopefully, could add value in those areas, and that was something that we discussed this morning.

14:00

Dyna ni. I fynd yn fwy penodol, efallai, ac rydych chi newydd grybwyll y berthynas yma efo'r Almaen, gan fod y llysgennad yn dod yma yn fuan iawn. Rydym ni mewn byd newydd rŵan, ac wrth gwrs, fel rydych chi'n gwybod, mae yna 16 Länder yn yr Almaen. Mae un Land yn gymesur i beth yw Cymru ar hyn o bryd yn ein taith ni, fel mae pwerau yn dod neu ddim yn y lle yma, felly, oes yna fwriad i sefydlu rhyw fath o berthynas efo gwahanol Länder yn rhan o hyn, neu ydym ni'n mynd am y wlad yn gyfan gwbl, yn lle mynd am Saxony Isel, neu Saarland neu Hessen neu Bayern neu lle bynnag?

Well, to get more specific following that, and you have mentioned the relationship with Germany, because the ambassador is visiting here very soon. Has there been any thinking, because we're in a new world now and, as you know, there are 16 Länder in Germany, and a Land can be compared to what Wales is currently on our journey in terms of powers coming or not to this place—? So, is there any intention to establish a relationship with various Länder here, or are we aiming for the nation state, rather than Lower Saxony or Saarland or Hessen or Bayern or so forth?

So, mae swyddfa gyda ni yn Düsseldorf. Felly, os ŷn ni'n mynd i ddatblygu perthynas, bydd e yn yr ardal yna. Ond, mae eisiau i ni hefyd gydnabod bod eisoes lot o bartneriaethau. So, mae partneriaeth rhwng Caerdydd a Stuttgart, er enghraifft, wedi bod yna ers amser hir iawn. Felly, beth dwi ddim eisiau ei wneud yw ail-greu rhywbeth newydd os yw'r perthnasau yna eisoes yn digwydd. Ond gyda'r Almaen, dwi yn meddwl beth sy'n bwysig yw ein bod ni'n adeiladu ar yr hyn sydd yna eisoes, ein bod ni'n deall bod allforion yn hollbwysig yn y maes yma, a dyna pam ei bod hi'n rili bwysig bod y llysgennad yn dod yfory. Mae'n dod achos ein bod ni wedi mynd i Lundain a gofyn iddo fe ddod. Felly, mae'n rili bwysig ein bod ni'n rhedeg ar ôl y gwledydd hynny sy'n bwysig i ni, yn hytrach na jest aros i bobl ddod atom ni.

We have an office in Düsseldorf. So, if we are going to develop a relationship, it will be in that area. But we also need to recognise that there are already a number of partnerships in place. So, there's partnership between Cardiff and Stuttgart, for example, and that's been in place for a very long time. So, what I don't want to do is to reinvent the wheel if those relationships are already in place. But with Germany, I do think that what's important is that we build on what's already in place, that we understand that exports are crucially important in that area, and that's why it's hugely important that the ambassador is coming tomorrow. And he's coming because we had gone to London and invited him. So, it is very important that we do pursue those nations that are important to us, rather than just waiting for people to come to us.

Buaswn i’n cytuno efo hynny, 100 y cant. Ond jest mor bwysig â beth sydd yna'n barod—a gyda llaw, mae Abertawe wedi'i chyfeillio efo Mannheim dwi'n credu, os dwi'n cofio'n iawn—yr holl syniad o strategaeth buaswn i'n ei feddwl ydy adeiladu ar beth sy'n digwydd yn barod. Dwi, fel Alun ychydig bach, ddim yn cael syniad clir o sut mae'r adeiladu yma'n mynd i ddigwydd a sut ydym ni'n gallu mesur unrhyw gynnydd, ac yn bwysicach fyth, efallai, sut ydym ni'n mynd i allu craffu bod yna wellhad wedi bod o'ch gweithgaredd chi fel Llywodraeth i'w gymharu â beth sy'n digwydd eisoes.

Oh, yes, I would fully agree with that. But just as important as what is already in place—and by the way, Swansea is twinned with Mannheim, I believe—this whole idea of a strategy, I would have expected, would be to build on what is already extant. I, a little like Alun, am not here getting a clear vision of how this building work is going to take place and how we're going to be able to measure any progress and how we are going to be able to scrutinise as to whether there have been improvements as a result of the Government's activity compared to what's currently happening.

Wel, dwi'n meddwl, gyda'r tri rhanbarth rŷn ni wedi canolbwyntio arnynt, byddwch chi'n gweld bod y berthynas yna yn datblygu. So, mae eisoes memoranda cyd-ddealltwriaeth mewn lle gyda dau o'r rheini, ond rŷn ni wedi bod yn cael cyfarfodydd gyda nhw i weld, reit, beth allwn ni ei wneud ymhellach. So, er enghraifft, Gwlad y Basg nawr, rŷn ni'n gobeithio gwneud lot mwy ar y maes iechyd. A gyda Flanders, ni'n gobeithio gwneud mwy gyda cybersecurity, a'r un peth gyda Ffrainc. Felly, bydd y pethau yna yn fesuradwy. Allwn ni ddim gwneud popeth—mae cyfyngiadau arnom ni o ran adnoddau. Os ydym ni'n treial gwneud gormod, fyddwn ni ddim yn gwneud yr impact. A dyna pan rŷn ni yn mynd i ganolbwyntio ar rai llefydd yn benodol. 

Well, I think with the three areas that we focused on, you will see that that relationship does develop. So, there are already memoranda of understanding in place with two of those, but we've been having meetings with them to see what further we can do. So, for example, with the Basque Country, we hope to do a lot more in the area of health. And with Flanders, we hope to focus more on cybersecurity, and the same is true with France. So, those things will be measurable. We can't do everything—there are limitations on us in terms of resources. If we try and do too much, we won't have an impact. And that's why we are going to focus on certain specific areas.

Rydym ni'n deall hynny, wrth gwrs, ac rydym ni hefyd yn deall y cyfyngiadau ariannol. Ac fel gwnes i ofyn i chi yr wythnos diwethaf yn y Siambr, mae'r trefniadau cyfeillio yma mewn lle eisoes, a phan oedd y bobl fusnes o'r prifysgolion draw o Oklahoma y llynedd, a gwnaethoch chi gyfarfod â nhw hefyd, beth roedden nhw'n ofyn amdano oedd rhyw fath o system gyfeillio nid rhwng Cymru ac Oklahoma fel y cyfryw—er mi fuasai hynny'n berthnasol, achos eto, yr un peth â'r Länder, dyna'r math o sub-state level rydym ni'n gallu ymdrin efo nawr yn y byd newydd sydd ohoni—ond rhwng gwahanol ddinasoedd, er enghraifft, Oklahoma City a Chaerdydd, a Tulsa, ail ddinas Oklahoma, ac Abertawe, ail ddinas Cymru. Dwi'n deall y cyfyngiadau ariannol, ond roedd y bobl yma'n crio allan am gysylltiad mwy ffurfiol. Ac wedyn, oes yna waith yn y cefndir yn digwydd yn fanna rŵan ar ben y cysylltiadau sydd yna eisoes?

Yes, we understand that, and we also understand the financial restrictions. And as I asked you last week in the Chamber, these twinning arrangements are already in place, and when the business people from the universities came over from Oklahoma last year, and you also met them, what they were requesting was some sort of twinning system not necessarily between Wales and Oklahoma—although that might be relevant, because again, the same as with the Länder, that's the kind of sub-state level that we can deal with now in this new world that we're living in—but between different cities, for example, Oklahoma City and Cardiff, and Tulsa, the second city of Oklahoma, and Swansea, which is, of course, the second city of Wales. I understand the financial restrictions that you face, but these people were crying out for a more formal link. And therefore, I'm wondering if there's any background work happening on top of the links already in place.

Wel, mae gyda ni swyddfeydd yn yr Unol Daleithiau, a byddan nhw'n edrych i ddatblygu partneriaethau. Ond dwi'n meddwl, beth sy'n bwysig yw ein bod ni'n rhoi cefnogaeth i bobl i wneud y partneriaethau hynny, ond bod y Llywodraeth ddim yn gyrru pob partneriaeth sy'n digwydd ychwaith.

Well, we do have offices in the United States, and they will be looking to develop partnerships. But I think what's important is that we support people to make those partnerships, but that the Government doesn't drive them all either.

14:05

Eto, rydym ni'n gallu gweld hynna. Yn lle mae'r swyddfeydd yn yr Unol Daleithiau, gyda llaw, er testun gwybodaeth?

Once again, I can see that. Where are the offices in the US, by the way, just for information?

Washington, New York, Atlanta, San Francisco, and we have in Canada as well—Montreal.

A fi'n cymryd, felly, ffordd i gysylltu Cymru efo taleithiau unigol ydy rheina, ynteu efo'r wlad gyfan? Achos fel rydw i'n dweud, buasai'n fwy priodol i Gymru fod yn cysylltu efo taleithiau unigol achos dyna'n lefel ni nawr, dyna realiti'r sefyllfa, yn lle bod Cymru efo'r Unol Daleithiau, fel y cyfryw, hynny yw, ac yn enwedig, fel gwnes i grybwyll yr wythnos diwethaf, taleithiau sydd efo cefndir Cymreig fel Wisconsin a Pennsylvania, New York State ac ati.

And I take it, therefore, that that's a way of linking Wales to individual states, or is it to the nation as a whole? Because, as I said, perhaps it might be more appropriate for Wales to be linking in with individual states because that's our level now, that's the reality of our situation, rather than it being Wales and the US, as such, that is, again, as I mentioned last week, states with a particular Welsh history such as Wisconsin, New York State and Pennsylvania and so forth.

Wel, beth dwi ddim eisiau gwneud yw ailstrwythuro'n llwyr ble mae gyda ni swyddfeydd a beth ni'n gobeithio gwneud yw i ehangu beth ni'n gwneud ar y west coast oherwydd ein bod ni eisiau canolbwyntio ar sectorau hefyd. So, chi wedi gweld yn glir ein bod ni eisiau gwneud mwy yn y maes creadigol ac yn compound semiconductors a cyber. Felly, ar y west coast mae'r arbenigedd yna'n bodoli a dyna pan ni'n mynd i ehangu yn y maes yna.

Well, what I don't want to do is totally restructure where we already have offices in place and what we hope to do is to expand our activities on the west coast because we want to focus on particular sectors. So, you will have seen clearly that we want to do more in the creative industries, compound semiconductors and cyber security. The expertise is on the west coast in those areas and that's why we're going to expand in that area.

A dod i ben efo fi, yn nhermau eich swyddfeydd chi, nid yn unig yn America ond hefyd yn Ewrop rŵan, rydw i'n cymryd y bydd unrhyw ddewis o ran pa swyddfa y Llywodraeth fydd yn gwneud beth bynnag ym mha wlad yn dilyn y tair egwyddor sylfaenol yna o cyber security ac ati. Oes yna unrhyw amserlen yn hynny i gyd i ni allu gweld rhyw fath o wahaniaeth, i ni allu ei fesur o fel pwyllgor sydd yn craffu ar y ffordd rydych chi'n gweithio?

And just to close from me, therefore, in terms of your offices, not only in America but also in Europe now, I take it that any selection as to what Government office will be doing what activity and in which country will follow those three fundamental areas of cyber security and so forth. Is there any timetable in regard to that, so that we can see if there's any difference as a committee scrutinising the way that you working?

Wel, beth sy'n bwysig i fi yw bod y sectorau yma'n newid yr image sydd gan Gymru dramor. Felly, wrth gwrs, byddem ni eisiau gweld bod yna gynnydd yn y meysydd yna, ond beth sy'n bwysicach i fi yw bod pobl yn newid eu delwedd nhw o Gymru, a dyna un o'r rhesymau pam roeddem ni wedi defnyddio'r sectorau yna. Mae'r rheini'n enghreifftiau, ac os ydych chi'n edrych ar ble rydym ni'n allforio mwyaf, mae e ar machinery and transport. Dyw e ddim yn glamorous iawn, ond hynny sy'n dod â'r arian mewn. Felly, os ydych chi eisiau gweld cynnydd, efallai mai dyna'r maes lle byddwn ni'n gweld mwy o gynnydd, ond mae hwn am newid delwedd Cymru a chael rhyw fath o attention i Gymru dyw pobl ddim yn disgwyl.

Well, what's important to me is that these sectors change the image of Wales abroad. So, of course, we would want to see progress in those areas, but what's most important, or more important for me, is that people's image and perception of Wales changes and that's one of the reasons we selected those sectors. Those are examples, and if you look at where we export most, well, it's machinery and transport. It isn't particularly glamorous, but that's what brings the funds in. So, if you want to see progress, then perhaps that's the area where we'll see most progress, but this is all about changing Wales's image and bringing some coverage and attention to Wales that people wouldn't necessarily expect.

A'r cwestiwn olaf ydy, yn naturiol, rydych chi'n ymgysylltu efo Llydaw a Fflandrys a Gwlad y Basg. Wrth gwrs, bydd yna lefel o ymwybyddiaeth o Gymru gyda'r tair gwlad yna sydd yn uwch na, dywedwch, Unol Daleithiau'r America, er enghraifft. Oes gyda chi rhyw fath o gynllun—? Mae yna fwy o ymwybyddiaeth o Gymru gan wledydd Celtaidd eraill megis, yn amlwg, yr Alban, Iwerddon ac ati. Oes yna ryw syniad o fynd ar ôl rhywbeth pan-Geltaidd yn y feddylfryd yma sydd gyda chi o fod yn rhyngwladol hefyd?

And a final question. Now, of course, you do have linkages with Brittany and Flanders and the Basque Country, of course, but there will be a level of awareness of Wales in those three countries that would be higher than, say, in the USA. So, do you have some sort of plan—? Because there is a greater awareness of Wales in other Celtic nations, such as, obviously, Scotland, Ireland and so forth, but do you have any plan or intention of pursuing some sort of pan-Celtic movement in this idea of being internationalist?

So, Iwerddon, mae honno'n un o'r gwledydd rydym ni eisiau canolbwyntio arnynt, a roeddwn i'n gobeithio y byddem ni'n gallu arwyddo cytundeb newydd gyda nhw, ond, wrth gwrs, bydd newid yn y gyfundrefn yna'n golygu efallai y bydd yn anodd i ni arwyddo yn y misoedd nesaf fel roeddem ni'n gobeithio. Felly, mae hwnna, o ran cydweithredu Celtaidd, yn rhywbeth sy'n bwysig. Dwi hefyd wedi siarad â fy counterpart i yn yr Alban ynglŷn â sut y gallwn ni gydweithredu, nid jest yn y maes rhyngwladol ond hefyd pan fydd e'n ymwneud â masnach hefyd yng nghyd-destun beth sy'n digwydd gyda trafodaethau yn y dyfodol. Felly, mae hwnna'n digwydd, ac, wrth gwrs, dwi'n gobeithio mynd i Lorient. So, ma hwnna'n gyfle hefyd i ni wneud y rhwydweithio Celtaidd yna rydych chi'n sôn amdano.

Well, Ireland is one of the nations that we want to focus on, and I had hoped that we'd be able to sign a new agreement with them, but, of course, there will be a change in Government there, which may make it difficult for us to sign anything over the next few months as we'd hoped. So, in terms of Celtic collaboration, that is something that's very important. I've also spoken to my counterpart in Scotland as to how we can collaborate, not only in international affairs, but also in relation to trade in the context of what's happening with future negotiations. So, that is already happening, and, of course, I hope to go to Lorient. So, that is also an opportunity for us to do that Celtic networking that you mentioned.

Yn naturiol, achos mae yna wledydd Celtaidd eraill fel Galicia, Asturias ac yn y blaen, fel y buasech chi'n gwybod. Digon wrthyf i.

Naturally, because there are other Celtic nations, such as Galicia, Asturias and so on, as you know. That's enough from me, I think.

Thank you. I want to move on. Before I move on, just a couple of points I wanted to—. It didn't cross my mind until I listened to the answers you gave, but particularly in relation to the cities and towns that have relationships with other cities and towns across the world, not just in Europe, is anyone in your department actually co-ordinating and understanding what relationships exist and how they are actually building on international trade?

I don't think there's anyone specifically doing that at the moment. I don't know; Andrew, would you like to come in?

14:10

We've got two officers who work on European relationships and rest-of-world relationships, and they have small teams around them. So, they're working on the current MOUs that are in place, but also, looking forward, how we grow those relationships and what new relationships will be coming out of that.

But are those MOUs they're looking at the ones also between cities and between municipalities? Because many towns are linked with others. Cardiff's twinned with Stuttgart. If you go out there, you see the name all over. So, is anyone identifying those links and asking the question as to how they're using those links to build economic relationships?

There are a hundred things that we could be doing in this space. There is so much we could be doing, but resources constrain us.

So, I take that, at this point in time, there's nobody doing that.

We work with local authorities, and often the city-to-city relationship is also very important in terms of local authority involvement. So, we do have a picture of the overall position, and the relationships that we build are the ones that the Minister has already mentioned. We would work, and do work, with local authorities when it's at a more local level.

I think I got my answer from that. If we move on to trade, you've touched on trade, I think it's an area we want to explore, particularly as you attended the ministerial forum on trade. So, David, do you want to start off?

The UK Government, I think, has opened a consultation on the sort of UK-Japan free trade agreement we might have. I just wonder have you been involved in that or whether you're going to respond.

The date for the consultation—the election came in between. So, what they've done is they've said, 'Yes, listen, you can take a bit more time to respond to that consultation.' So, we'll be responding in the next few weeks to that consultation. What we do know is that Japan is traditionally important in terms of inward investment, but it's not in the top 10 in terms of our export market. It's probably about the fifteenth largest export market, so it's not insignificant. About 1.5 per cent of our Welsh exports are to Japan. So, it's not insignificant, but it's not one of our key export markets at the moment. But there are opportunities, and I think we are interested in seeing what more can be done in terms of any potential new relationship, and how Wales could benefit from that.

Incidentally, it's not the main thrust I want to make, but is there a new Japan out there? In the 1980s, obviously, Japan was held up as that shining partner that demonstrated that the whole Welsh economy was shifting. We could argue whether that was achieved or not, but it was constant. So, you've explained, actually, it's not insignificant, but it's not one of the major players. Germany, France and the US are the big players at the moment. Is there a new one coming on that will demonstrate a shift in our economic thinking, as Japan did in the 1980s?

I think we've got to recognise that Asia generally is going to become bigger and more important economically in future. China and India in particular are going to become more important, so that's why we do have offices there, so we're keeping an eye on those markets. Our issue at the moment is how we don't lose market share in Europe. So, 60 per cent of our trade is with the EU, and we don't want to see that decreasing. I think that's our focus at the moment, it's reinforcing those European markets. But in the longer term, I do think we have to probably shift our focus onto Asia.

Okay. And the current EU-Japan agreement: have you made any assessment of that and how it's key to our economy, and indeed may be a good pattern for an agreement with China one day, or whatever might be intended?

I think there are some interesting things in the EU-Japan trade relationship. What we know is they've put a clever little clause in there, which suggests that, whatever happens in relation to any future relationship with the UK and Japan, there will have to be some kind of equivalence with the EU. So, I think that's quite interesting. So, if we negotiated something new in terms of our relationship, then the EU has said, 'Well, we'll have a bit of that as well.'

This is an interesting point. It kind of implies the current EU-Japan agreement is not a perfect agreement, or at least is improvable. So, have you looked at it from a Welsh perspective, and seen where you would like it to be improved when it becomes a UK-Japan agreement?

14:15

I think, probably, if we could get more access in relation to services, that would be useful to us. Also, it's a relatively closed market when it comes to food and drink, so I think there are opportunities for us there. We took a trade mission out there last year, and so some opportunities opened up there, but I think there's scope for us to push that a little bit further as well. Digital services: I think that would be something where it would be helpful for us to see a bit more of an opening up in the market as well. Is there anything else? 

No, just to say that I think we're producing and pulling all this information together, and I think we would quite like to share it, once we've sent it off to UK Government. So, we can share all the analysis and stuff that we've put together. 

And will your expert stakeholder group be helping with this work?

So, we're still working on the expert group, we're trying to work out what kind of people we need to be inputting into that. So, we haven't got a date yet for when they will meet for the first time, have we? 

Do you have any indication of when it might meet for the first time? Because this is—. All right, I'll accept that it's maybe too soon for the Japanese agreement, but it's a significant agreement, Japan, and there are some really big ones in the offing. So, when will this group be up and running?

Yes, spring maybe—hopefully. 

Have you got a fixed time, a target, a date, as to when this group can meet? I know you've got time to set it up, but have you got a time in your mind, 'I want it to be able to meet on a particular date so that we can get this under way'?

We're trying to identify who those people are and, obviously, then we have to go to them, ask them who they are, but I was hoping that that would be ready by Easter time. 

My final question is on the trade agreements that are going to be rolled over, the continuity programme. What attitude have you taken to that, or is it just accepting that the UK is obviously driving that and there's not a lot of additional value you can add to it at this stage, other than hope that as many get rolled over as possible? How does the Welsh Government approach these things? Do you emphasise any of them as being particularly important?

Yes. We know that about 20 out of the 40 have been rolled over so far. That represents about 5 per cent out of the 10 per cent of the market for Welsh trade in goods that we're concerned about. We do have particular concerns about the fact that Turkey may not be rolled over in time. I think Turkey is a particular one that we're concerned about. And I think Canada, was it?

Canada was the other one. So, those are the two that are significant for us, and obviously Japan. 

Do you have concerns? This committee, obviously, looks at the international agreements that have been rolled over, and one of the common questions we keep asking is: what involvement has the Welsh Government had in the process of that continuity agreement? So what involvement does the Welsh Government have in any of these agreements, or is it simply that you're being told, 'This has happened now. This is where it is'?

Well, most of these are technical, roll-over agreements. But you're right, there are times when we are not told until basically they're pretty much signed. So, our involvement has been fairly limited, I'm afraid to say. 

You've just mentioned you have concerns, particularly with two. So, how do you get those concerns over?

We let them know. We certainly let them know that we have concerns in certain areas. So, they're very aware that we have concerns, but it's not going to change the fact that Turkey is unlikely to be rolled over and Canada is not likely to be rolled over until a much later stage. So, we're certainly making our presence felt, but I'm afraid, at this point in time, it doesn't seem to be making much difference. I'm not sure if Turkey, even if they wanted to, would be able to sign up to a roll-over agreement anyway, because they're part of the customs union. 

Before I bring Huw in—let's take Turkey as an example—what percentage of exports do we have with Turkey? What impact would the delay have upon Welsh businesses? Do you also consider the other knock-on effects? Because steel is clearly a product from Turkey. I represent a steel town. There might not be agreements on steel transfer, per se, in any agreement, but clearly what they do with their steel has an impact upon Wales.

14:20

Absolutely, which is why we've made it very clear to the UK Government that we have big concerns in relation to Turkey in particular, and I've brought that up with the Minister in discussions on trade in the past. The first meeting, you'll be aware, with Conor Burns, who is the trade commissioner, was actually held in Port Talbot and, obviously, this was one of the issues that we brought up as an issue then.

Thanks, Chair. Minister, you've just referred to the continuity trade agreements as, essentially, technical roll-over deals, by and large. If they are, essentially, technical roll-over continuity trade agreements that we're looking at, why would the Welsh Government have any problems with them?

Well, most of them we don't have problems with. They are technical roll-over agreements, so we don't have problems with most of them. If there's any suggestion that they're going to impact on our powers or anything, then obviously we would. But there has been no suggestion that that is the case. 

And if you do then—in what sounds to me, from what you are saying, like not normal or unusual circumstances—have a reasonable objection because, in effect, it isn't quite a continuity roll-over trade agreement, and something's being changed?

Yes, but on the whole, nothing is changing in these agreements. I don't know if there are any examples where there's anything that has been changed that is not of a technical nature. If it's part of a framework agreement—[Interruption.] If it's part of a framework agreement, and it's referencing up to a framework, then obviously you have to adjust it because we're no longer a part of that broader framework agreement. 

And on those ones where you do seek some adjustments, where you seek to have the Welsh voice heard, are you saying to us that you are not being listened to?

On many of them, we haven't been told until after they have been signed. So, no. There has been very, very little—

And what then is your formal response as a Government to that, whenever those instances occur?

Well, we've asked them to have sight of these agreements prior to signatory, but that hasn't always happened.

So, when you find out retrospectively that, in effect, the UK Government has made a change that is disadvantageous to the interests of Wales, are there formal representations that are made on that?

Because they're technical roll-overs, and because the changes that have been made are usually in reference to the signposting to a framework agreement, I think it's very difficult for us to make any changes or to suggest any changes. Do you want to add to that, Emma?

Just to say, in some of these agreements—the ones that are closely related to the EU—there's nothing that the UK Government can do. Things have to come out of those agreements because we don't have a relationship with the EU. So, actually, those agreements where they could have an impact on Wales have tended to be the areas where they have been bought out or taken out because we don't have that relationship with the EU—so, in relation to Norway, Switzerland and that sort of stuff. In that respect, there is nothing that can be done with those roll-over agreements until we have a relationship with the EU, or we don't. 

Can I ask just one final question on this point before I come back to Huw? It's clear that UK Government is not engaging on these continuities. They are simply going ahead and doing them, because this is a reserved matter. Did they actually talk to you at any point in time and say, 'This is what we are going to do, by the way. Do you have any concerns about this?', or have they just done it? Because it gives an indication as to how they are thinking for the future arrangements.

We have regular discussions with the Minister in relation to this, and we get updates in terms of where they're at with the continuity agreements. We've always made it clear that we'd like to see copies before they're signed. As I say, that doesn't always happen. But I think, generally, the engagement with the department for trade has actually been quite good; it's been quite constructive. Although it's still early days, we have at least now had our first ministerial meeting on trade, which was a really constructive meeting.

Yes. Apologies, Chair, I'm just trying to get my head around this. If you are asking for them in advance, which in essence, if there is an agreement to do this, is a click of a button and sending it down to you, so you can at least see them, even if there's nothing you can do about them—

14:25

But they're not sending them to you, matter of fact. And I don't want to make an issue of something if it isn't a major issue. But, from what you're saying, you want to see them, you need to see them, in advance. 

We generally—. We do see them in advance. If you remember, right at the beginning of this journey, we weren't seeing them, but now we have, I think, calls every two weeks and we generally do see them in advance. 

Not in the beginning, no. 

I want to actually look ahead now to negotiations on the future relationships between the UK and the EU. But, before I do, can I just ask a simple request, really? Can you make available to the committee the analysis of the key sectors that export in Wales? Can you share with us any information that you have?  

That's brilliant. Okay. So, going ahead from the discussion we've just had, are you confident Welsh Government will have a role that you are happy with on the future relations between the UK and the EU? 

Well, this is—. It's generally the Brexit Minister who's responsible for that part of the negotiation, but I think we have concerns, and I think the fact that the UK set out its negotiating objectives last Monday, without any prior involvement of the Welsh Government, does set off some alarm bells in terms of how we are going to be involved in the process. So, certainly, in terms of the relationship with the trade department, I think things are going reasonably well. I'm not sure if they're quite in the same place in terms of the EU trade agreement, which is obviously a different department.

Okay. So, I'm picking up from that, that, as of this moment, you have some worries going forward, in which case, can I ask you, as Welsh Government Minister, yourself, your role, but also our Brexit Minister, Counsel General, how you will overcome those issues to get some certainty that Wales's voice is heard in future UK-EU negotiations? What are you seeking? How are you going to achieve that outcome? 

So, obviously, this was an issue that was discussed in the recent JMC that was held in Cardiff, and I think it was made absolutely clear that we would not want to see—. The UK Government would not normally proceed with any agreements that impacted on devolved responsibilities without our agreement. So, that's what we've made clear. We haven't had an absolute assurance on that yet. 

Okay. You've mentioned trade negotiations as one aspect, but, on the overall future relationship, who's going to lead on that? Will it be yourself? Will it be your department? Will it be other Welsh Government departments? 

So, on trade relating to outside the EU, then that will be me; inside the EU will be the Counsel General. But obviously it's—. The trade officials are within my department and I think that makes the key thing—. What we've done is to keep everything within one department, so we haven't done what the UK department are doing, which is having two absolutely separate groups of negotiators. We recognise that one is going to impact on the other. 

So, could you tell me two things? One is: what's the model—the ideal model—that you're anticipating having for the UK-EU negotiations going forward and the role of Welsh Government within that? And is that the same model that would apply to negotiations with countries outside the EU? 

So, I think we're, if anything, further advanced, in terms of countries outside the EU, in terms of our relationship with the departments in London and how far we've been involved and engaged in negotiations. The EU side of things is probably slightly more complex; it's obviously a lot more political and there are issues that are beyond trade that they need to be looking at. So, there may be some trade-offs between, for example, security and trade that they need to be balancing off. So, that does complicate the picture a bit. But the starting point for us is, if you are touching on anything to do with devolved Government, then we would normally be expected to agree on those. But it actually goes beyond that, because there areas that are reserved but will have an impact on us. So, that's our starting point, but, beyond that, you've got to remember that there are vast areas that are reserved to the UK Government that will absolutely have an impact on us, and we want a say on some of those as well. 

14:30

So, just to play devil's advocate here for a moment, I appreciate that sometimes—. You know, I can put words into Ministers' mouths and so on, but, when you say that the starting point should be that, in effect, there should be no trespass on devolved areas, shouldn't it be flipped around—that, actually, the starting point should be that the reserved powers and the devolved powers are recognised within any negotiations going forward? The reason I say that is that it's not just a tonal one; it's a question of future relationships with the UK Government on a range of issues, but including negotiations within the EU—trade negotiations and those wider things that you touched on.

That would be lovely, but I think we've got to recognise that it's the UK Government that leads on trade. They're the people who are going to be making these decisions. So, what's important is that we get the relationship within the United Kingdom right, so that what they are going to be negotiating is something that we have signed up to.

My final point, Chair, I guess, is: when do you think we'll—? When, in your ideal world, with a good working relationship with the UK Government, do we get to a point where we can see a reasonably well-functioning approach in terms of Wales being involved with the UK in negotiations at a satisfactory level, with concordats and understandings in place that absolutely demonstrate that this is working? Are we looking six months down the line, 12 months down the line?    

So, in terms of my involvement with the trade Minister, we've now gone further. So, we've now got terms of reference that we are just about to conclude with them. So, we've got a framework, a shape, appearing. The concordat: we're still pushing on what that may look like, and that should formalise our relationship with them. So, I'm confident that we're moving ahead in relation to the space that I'm responsible for. So, until we've got the concordat in place, I'm not going to be comfortable. 

When do you expect that to be done? The reason I ask is that we're fully aware of the urgency of your Government to try and get some trade agreements simultaneously with an EU agreement. So, when do you expect a concordat to be in place so that our involvement in negotiations, not with the EU, but with other nations, can be formalised in a proper manner?

So, we did have an assurance in the past that they wouldn't start negotiating trade agreements until that concordat was set up and in place. But it does seem to be that the framework in relation to the US, for example, is probably moving ahead quicker than the concordat will be put in place. It looks like—. There has been a bit of paralysis at the UK Government level for a number of months, I think it's fair to say, because of elections, whatever. We get a sense that things are becoming unblocked in relation to that. Is that fair? 

Yes, that's fair. So, we're able to sit down and discuss again, with officials, the concordat. So, tomorrow, we will be sat down and discussing DA roles within a negotiation. So, that is the one outstanding bit that we hadn't done before the paralysis. So, in that respect, discussions are back on and making progress.

Okay. That sounds positive in the sense that, clearly, it is important that that could also be the framework for an agreement as to the relationship with the EU negotiations as well. On that, I quite agree with you; I fully support your assessment that one department looking at both, because they impact upon one another, whereas the UK Government has two departments doing this—. But what discussions do you have with your colleague in Cabinet, in that case, to ensure that you are both on the same message to ensure that the discussions that take place both at JMC(EN) and in the ministerial forum are similar and along the same lines? That is, you won't agree to one thing without having a discussion with each other.

14:35

So, we have a Cabinet sub-committee that looks at Brexit and trade, and we've co-authored papers to that committee together. I'm having a meeting with him later on this week just to make sure that we are absolutely lined up on all of this. But, generally, those papers are things that we both have sight of, so it's a co-ordinated approach. So, we don't want to be going off in different directions, and we do recognise that, whatever happens in relation to the EU or to any prospective US deal, they will impact on the other deal. So, the sequencing of this really makes a big difference. And we've made it clear time and time again that we want to see the EU relationship prioritised over the US.

We've come to the end of our time. There are still some questions to ask—perhaps you could provide the committee with some written answers in relation to when the ministerial forum will meet next, the discussions you had at the first one, and how you see that progress going through, because it is important for us to keep on track of what is happening at that level on those trade agreements and trade negotiations, and the Welsh Government's involvement in those. That would be very helpful for us, and we may send one or two other questions your way as well.

Can I thank you, Minister, for your time? As you know, you will receive a copy of the transcript. If there are any factual inaccuracies identified, please let the team know as soon as possible so we can have them corrected. So, thank you very much for your time this afternoon.

3. Papurau i’w nodi
3. Papers to note

For Members, the next item on the agenda is papers to note. We have four. The first one is correspondence from the Counsel General and Brexit Minister regarding the committee's report on common policy frameworks. Are Members content to note that? And we will be discussing this in our later private session this afternoon.

The second one is correspondence from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union regarding the withdrawal agreement Bill, which indicates that, clearly, the Bill has gone through, as regarding our request for amendments, but also his encouragement that committees in the House of Commons would be working with the devolved committees. Are Members content to note that?

The third one is a response from the Welsh Government to our report on the UK international agreements after Brexit. Are Members content to note the response?

And the fourth one is a response of the Welsh Government to our report on the draft international strategy. And, just to note, Members should be aware that the Plenary debate has been scheduled for 4 March on that report.

4. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42(vi) a (ix) i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod
4. Motion under Standing Order 17.42(vi) and (ix) to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting

Cynnig:

bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi) a (ix).

Motion:

that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi) and (ix).

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

The next item on the agenda is a motion under Standing Order 17.42(vi) and (ix) to resolve to exclude the public for the remainder of this meeting. Are Members content to do so?

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 14:38.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 14:38.

Dysgu am Senedd Cymru