It’s St David’s Day next week; an opportunity to celebrate the very best of Welsh life and to show just how much Wales has to offer at home and away.

And it’s a chance to showcase the very best of Wales and our place in the world; a world that has changed a lot over the past five years.

It is against a backdrop of Brexit, the pandemic, war in Ukraine and conflict in the Middle East – among this turmoil the Welsh Government is doing all it can to deliver for the people of Wales and ensure a bright future for our nation in spite of these challenges.

Brexit caused huge damage to the relationship with our closest neighbours and trading partners, making it even more important for us to strengthen our existing relationships with regional and national governments, both in and outside of Europe, as well as forging new friendships and partnerships.

As a committed contributor to these relationships, we’ve renewed agreements, setting out areas of co-operation and closer ties with those countries where we have shared interests.

Our prosperity has long depended on trade and inward investment.

International companies employ thousands of people in Wales and our home-grown businesses export Welsh-made goods and services to every part of the world.

Latest data shows the value of goods exports for Wales was £19.9bn in the year ending September 2023, up two per cent compared to the previous year.

We run a comprehensive export programme, which last year helped Welsh businesses secure more than £82m in additional new trade. Wales also secured 47 inward investment projects in 2022-23 – a nine per cent increase. These projects created more than 3,000 new jobs.

Our international work is not just confined to government diplomacy and trade; events and visits are also important as they build new markets and opportunities for Wales.

When Wales played in the World Cup finals in Qatar in 2022, the Welsh Government designed a programme of more than 2,200 events in the UAE, USA, Canada and across Europe.

The Rugby World Cup coincided with our Wales in France year – once again we combined sport with a programme of arts and music to help promote Wales to new audiences.

At the same time we have worked to support the people of Ukraine – I have visited the country with aid and support sent from Wales. In all sorts of Wales punches far above our weight on the international stage.

This St David’s Day, we will send a strong message to people from other parts of the world; that we are an outward looking nation with strong values; that we respect the relationships we have with other countries, and we care about the people who call Wales their home.