Founded in 1969, MEDICA now attracts more than 5,100 exhibitors from 70 countries. It’s an established forum for the leading figures in business, research and policymaking across the world, and an international showcase for cutting-edge advances in medical technology.

The annual trade mission to MEDICA is just one facet of Wales’ business partnership with Germany, a country that continues to be its top destination for exports. In 2018, Germany accounted for 18.1% of all Welsh goods exported outside the UK, with a total value of over £3billion. By product sector, the most significant categories were ‘Machinery and transport equipment’, ‘Minerals, fuels, lubricants etc.’, and ‘Manufactured goods’.”

Underlining the importance of the trade relationship, the Welsh Government last year opened offices in both Berlin and Düsseldorf to help pursue new trade and investment opportunities, and further boost Wales’ profile in the country.

It’s not just about exports. There are an estimated 90 German-owned companies operating within Wales, employing just under 12,000 people. They include established corporate names such as Siemens, RWE, Continental Teves, Ensinger and Arvato Bertelsmann, with a further four companies  coming from Germany this year alone.

Medica logo on a window

Academic links between the two nations are particularly strong. Germany sends more students to Welsh universities than any nation outside the UK, aside from China. In 2018, there were an estimated 680 German students enrolled at Wales’ eight universities. Two of these – Swansea and Aberystwyth – have built up more than 15 academic partnerships with higher-education establishments across Germany. 

Further developing this relationship was another motive behind the Welsh Government’s decision to establish bases in Berlin and Düsseldorf, with the two new offices offering better support for students interested in studying in Wales. 

Both countries have been enriched by the many cultural exchanges that have been established over more than half a century. Stuttgart is Cardiff’s oldest twin city, with a connection that was established in 1955. Wales’ second and third cities also have long-standing twinning relationships in the German state of Baden-Württemberg – Swansea with Mannheim (1957) and Newport with Heidenheim (1980).

Tourism from Germany is a significant contributor to the Welsh economy. Germany currently supplies the joint second-greatest number of visitors to Wales, behind Ireland – an annual total of 87,000 German visitors, according to recent figures. This accounts for 8% of all international visits, and around 7% of total tourism spend. 

The Welsh Government export market visit to MEDICA will include the following exhibitors: Blackwood Embedded Solutions, CellPath, Design Reality, DTR Medical, EKF Diagnostics Holdings, FRIO UK, PDR, R&D Surgical, Rocialle, Transcontinental AC UK and Ultrasound Technologies. Between them, they cover a variety of different sub-sectors, including medical consumables, implantation devices, refrigeration and surgical instruments.

They will be joined by Abel & Imray, Alesi Surgical, BCB International, Bee Robotics, Biocatalysts, Bond Digital Health, Creo Medical, Fromo, Frontier Medical Group, Great Bear Healthcare, Labco, Mangar Health, MediWales (the life science network for Wales), Nightingale, Perpetuus Carbon Technologies, Porvair Services, Respiratory Innovation Wales, Single Use Surgical and Williams Medical Supplies.

Key Facts

  • Germany is Wales' top export destination, receiving goods and services to the value of £3.1billion in 2018.
  • There are an estimated 90 German-owned companies with a presence in Wales, employing just under 12,000 people.

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