Wales

Schools in Wales 'could teach Mandarin' to boost trade

Mandarin script written by children surrounded by felt tips Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Welsh Government wants to establish the country as a visitor destination for Chinese people

Mandarin could be taught in Welsh secondary schools in a bid to raise Wales' international profile.

The Welsh Government wants to establish the country as a visitor destination for Chinese people as part of its new strategy to boost trade.

It is also looking to have a "Wales in Germany" themed year in 2021, and have an increased presence in EU countries.

International relations minister Baroness Morgan said she wanted to sell Wales to the world.

Welsh businesses sold more than £17bn of goods abroad in 2018 and at present 60% of those exports go to the EU, with Germany as the top destination.

But after Brexit, ministers want "to ensure that the European Union remains our strongest partner" as well as developing markets elsewhere. Its goal is a 5% increase in exports.

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Media captionWhat does Wales export?

To make that happen, the Welsh Government has launched a new international strategy to focus on three areas - cyber-security, compound semi-conductors, and creative industries - chosen in part for their "resilience to Brexit" and because of their "global recognition as areas of excellence".

In its report, it also listed a number of ideas, including:

  • Raise Wales' profile by exploring the feasibility of teaching Mandarin in secondary schools as part of a long-term vision to establish the country as a visitor destination for the Chinese market
  • Work with education institutions to increase the number of international students studying in Wales
  • Hold a "Wales in Germany" themed year in 2021
  • Working with existing networks to build a global Welsh Diaspora social network of 500,000 people, focusing in the first year on the USA and Japan and use cultural and sporting events to "open doors" in difficult markets
  • Promoting Wales as the "go-to nation" for advice on minority language development

Lady Morgan said she was "anxious" to change the Welsh Government's relationship with the UK government to help sell Wales abroad, adding they wanted the best possible Brexit deal and would be "constructive partners".

She said they had already been working with them in setting out the key areas that needed promoting.

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