Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster today met with the US Foreign Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton during her visit to Northern Ireland, at Queen’s University, Belfast.
They led a round-table discussion with a newly formed working group, made up of local and US business leaders. The group, which has been brought together by Declan Kelly, the US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland, aims to underline how the United States can help promote inward investment into Northern Ireland on an on-going basis.
Following the meeting, the Minister said: “Companies across the globe will not stand still in their quest to seek out profitable investments and Northern Ireland must therefore continue to inform decision makers that this region remains an excellent proposition for US companies.
“Earlier, I announced that Navinet, America’s largest real-time healthcare communications network, is to set up a software R&D centre in Belfast. A key part of the company’s decision to locate here was the quality and skills of our people.”
“The US has played an important role in Northern Ireland’s growth and development, bringing significant change to trade and investment opportunities here.
“The recently appointed US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland, Declan Kelly has wasted no time in getting to work on encouraging trade and investment links with the US.
“While these are, of course, exceptionally challenging times for Northern Ireland and indeed right across the globe, the US continues to be a key trade and investment partner for us. Over 14,000 people are employed in US companies in Northern Ireland and North America is our second largest export market after the Republic of Ireland.”
The Minister reinforced the Executive’s aim for economic growth and outlined her commitment to building on the positive relationship that Northern Ireland and the US have enjoyed over the years.
Arlene Foster said: “The Executive has placed the economy at the centre of its Programme for Government. In this current economic climate, doing nothing is definitely not an option. We will continue our strategy of helping to create new businesses, helping more of our indigenous companies enter export markets and encouraging more companies to invest in Northern Ireland and bring high value good quality jobs.
“I look forward to building on the discussions that have taken place over the last two days and ultimately to securing more investment from US companies and developing trade opportunities in the US for Northern Ireland firms.”