By Kate Madley

The government official responsible for selling Wales to one of the world’s most influential markets has outlined her plans to enhance Wales’s reputation as a place to invest and do business.

Jill Scott, senior representative in North America, is heading up the new office housed within the British Consulate General, in the heart of San Francisco’s financial district.

On a recent visit to the West Coast, First Minister for Wales, Carwyn Jones, officially opened the Welsh Government office and announced a permanent member of staff would be based to strengthen links with Silicon Valley and the East Bay corridor.

Scott has previously held positions with the British Consulate General and worked in the private sector, bringing a strong business and economic development portfolio to the new position.

Speaking exclusively to Wales World Wide about her appointment, Scott said: “I am very pleased to have been selected to represent the interests of the Welsh Government for the Western half of the USA, to complement and dovetail with the work of our offices in New York and Washington DC.

“A large part of my role will be the promotion of Wales as the best place for US companies and individuals to invest, develop and expand businesses and highlighting the advantages and opportunities for investment in a business friendly environment like Wales.

“We are also intent on expanding the science and innovation links between the many outstanding universities and institutions in Wales with American research and academia institutes of equal stature. Culturally and politically we look forward to cementing the many Welsh ties between the US and Wales.

“We are looking forward to continuing a close partnership with UK Trade and Investment, working to position Wales and Welsh businesses at the forefront of UK investment locations to grow and develop both companies and people and offering a lifestyle and environment unsurpassed in the UK.

“This area is an economically significant part of both the American and the global economy. To that we are particularly hoping to encourage investment from the local powerhouse sectors of ICT, life sciences and clean tech.

“San Francisco’s position as a gateway to the Pacific Rim and to China will help Wales leverage business opportunities in Asia. The US represents a significant market for Welsh goods, and for businesses looking to export to the USA.

“Having an office on the spot will enable us to advise exporters on absolutely current market conditions, opportunities and regulations. This part of the USA also offers market potential for smaller niche exporters and we will be actively pursuing and uncovering luxury and specialist markets.”

The Welsh Government is leading eight trade visits to America between July 2012 and April 2014, as part of the overseas events programme. The trips include an ICT sector visit to Houston, a life science sector visit to Washington DC and a return visit to San Francisco for a multi-sector trade mission. For full event information visit www.walesworldwide.org/calendar.