North Wales is set to benefit from an economic boost to the "northern powerhouse" region of England, Wales Office Minister Alun Cairns has said.
He and Northern Powerhouse Minister James Wharton met business leaders in Conwy, Flintshire and Cheshire to outline the prospects.
Mr Cairns said north east Wales was "perfectly positioned" to benefit.
The Welsh government claimed the plan was only offering "trickle-down benefits" from growth in England.
The ministerial tour on Tuesday included visits to the Toyota engine plant and an Oriental food factory on Deeside, and a former church in Llandudno converted into a hub for hi-tech firms.
"It's clear that we are seeing a sustained strengthening of the economy across Wales - last week's record employment figures illustrate that," said Mr Cairns.
Paying tribute to major exporting companies in the region, he said he wanted to "urge business leaders in the north of the country to come together and see how we can benefit from the opportunities of closer links".
However, Welsh Labour's Deputy Economy Minister Ken Skates dismissed the plan as a "lowly aspiration", saying the area "should be an economic powerhouse in its own right".
"The UK government should be helping and enabling north east Wales to realise Welsh Labour's ambitious vision for the region, not simply offering trickle-down benefits from economic growth in England's major cities," he said.