By Kate Madley

As the autumn rugby series draws to a close, Wales has one last chance to avoid a whitewash – and loss of world-top-eight status – when it faces Australia this Saturday.

The winner of the final test match will receive the James Bevan trophy, created in 2007 to celebrate 100 years of rugby between Wales and Australia.

Sport is central to Wales’s long standing close relationship with Australia, but economic ties are also strong.

Welsh exports were valued at £110 million of the £4.2 billion British goods exported to Australia. Welsh exports were up from £86 million in 2010.

A recent success is the contract signed in August by Cardiff-based IT company  Zipporah with Marrickville council in Sydney’s Inner West region.

Zipporah is now the bookings system provider for all Marrickville’s sports and recreation facilities including Henson Park, home of the Newtown Jets rugby league team, and Petersham Town Hall, famous for hosting Strictly Ballroom.

Australia has been ranked the world’s most resilient economy for six of the last eight years, managing to escape recession during the global financial crisis of 2007-09.

Its economy is almost 6% larger than it was prior to the global downturn, while many developed economies still face weak growth and large deficits.

Its proximity to the world’s fastest growing market – Asia Pacific – gives it a distinct advantage for businesses looking to enter the region. China, Japan and the Republic of Korea are chief trading partners, and the Australian economy has benefited significantly from the increased prosperity of Asia.

Australia’s main imports are petroleum, passenger motor vehicles, medicaments, telecom equipment and parts.  Its major exports are agricultural products, particularly wheat and wool, minerals such as iron-ore and gold, and energy in the form of liquefied natural gas and coal. The agriculture and mining sectors account for 57% of national exports.

Welsh connections with Australia date back to the 18th century, but it was the discovery of copper and gold that brought significant numbers of Welsh settlers to Australia in the mid 19th century. By the turn of the century there were 12,000 settlers of Welsh descent spread throughout the colony.

The legacy of the Welsh colonists is still present today, with the eastern state ‘New South Wales’ having place names Cardiff, Swansea, Neath and Aberdare amongst others. The modern countrywide Eisteddfod has traditions brought to Australia from the early settlers.

Opportunities exist for Welsh firms throughout Australia, and its continuing growth offers a dependable market with a technology-hungry consumer base. Similarities in culture, business practices and language offer a straightforward route to market for export led firms.

Zipporah’s technical director, Scott Burton, discusses exporting with other people from business in Wales World Wide’s launch video:

http://www.walesworldwide.org/2012/09/people-do-business-why-contacts-are-key-to-international-success/