Northern Ireland companies will have an opportunity to explore business developing in the Czech Republic and Poland, two of the fastest growing states which join the EU on May 1. The mission is being organised by Invest NI's trade division and will take place in January 2005.
The mission will be centred on Prague and Warsaw and will offer participating companies the scope to develop business contacts throughout both countries and also in neighbouring states. Recruitment for the mission, which is scheduled from 23-28 January, is already underway.
This mission is the latest in a series of opportunities provided by Invest NI for local companies to build business in the new EU member states. Over the past few years, missions have been organised to the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, and Poland. Seminars and workshops have also been held to brief companies about opportunities and business procedures in these countries.
In addition, Invest NI is planning to locate a new Technology and Development Centre in Düsseldorf, Germany, which may be used by companies as a springboard to key accession states.
The planned centre is part of Invest NI’s extensive range of In-Market Support Services within the comprehensive Passport to EXPORT programme. In-Market Support provides expert advice and practical assistance to enable companies to increase export business in targeted regions and sectors.
Invest NI has also commissioned the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry to develop its relationships with chambers in these nations with a view to identifying business opportunities best suited to local companies.
Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s director of Trade, commenting on Northern Ireland’s trade links with the new EU member states, said: “Upwards of 60 Northern Ireland companies are already doing business worth around £100 million annually in these states. Successful companies range from leaders in biotechnology and computer software to traditional products such as textiles and clothing.
“Several companies are also providing expert advice and support to the governments in the countries in areas such as administrative report, public accounting procedures and healthcare services.
“In addition to the planned trade missions and in-market services, we can assist companies with essential market data and potential contacts through our Business Information Services and by means of Trade and Investment UK, which has a network of experts operating at British Diplomatic Posts in these states.
“The new states offer a huge new business opportunity across a range of activities including trade, joint ventures, manufacturing and marketing partnerships, and sourcing arrangements.
“Northern Ireland companies interested in doing business in any or all of the new member states will find that advice and practical assistance is readily available from an extensive range of sources within Invest NI,” he added.