Northern Ireland competing for high value inward investment

Jul 25, 2012

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has today published the key findings from research into how Northern Ireland can attract high value Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

The research includes a review of Northern Ireland’s competitiveness for inward investment in key sectors, an assessment of the potential impact of a 12.5% rate of Corporation Tax and a mapping of the current research base that can be used to attract FDI.

Commenting on the report, the Minister said: “The Independent Review of Economic Policy recommended that a study should be carried out to determine how Northern Ireland can more rapidly shift the pattern of inward investment towards higher value sectors. This research fulfils that commitment and provides the basis for ensuring that we are as competitive as possible in the key high value sectors of financial services, business & professional services, software & IT, renewables, aerospace and biotechnology.

“It is encouraging that the report acknowledges the success Northern Ireland has had in recent years at attracting high value FDI, particularly in software & IT. However, clearly there is a need to build on this success and ensure an even greater focus on high value investments in the future.”

The value added of FDI was measured using salaries, productivity, exports and R&D, whereas the Independent Review of Economic Policy (IREP) had focused solely on the average salaries of FDI jobs promoted.

Outlining how Northern Ireland can increase its competitiveness for inward investment, Arlene Foster continued: “Corporation Tax is identified as the most direct policy tool available to achieve a major increase in high value FDI, and this shows exactly why the Executive is pursuing, through our discussions with the UK Government, the possible devolution of Corporation Tax powers.

“Alongside low taxes, the report also highlights the economic potential of measures to build and strengthen FDI clusters of similar companies. These include developing high-profile infrastructure projects and supporting sector-specific institutions that promote clusters.”

The Minister concluded: “The strong pool of skilled labour available in Northern Ireland is shown to be a key attraction for inward investors at present. However, there is also a very strong and internationally-competitive research base in place here that can be further used to attract high value Research & Development-based foreign investments. My officials in DETI and Invest NI will be using this research in developing future FDI strategy.”

The Executive Summary of the research can be accessed online at or by contacting DETI Analytical Services on

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