First Minister Peter D. Robinson MP MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MP MLA have begun their US visit with a round of meetings with potential investors in Chicago.
The Ministers also met with Tom Wilson, the Chairman of existing investor Allstate and the Mayor of Chicago, Richard Daley.
Mr Robinson said: "Chicago based companies, including Caterpillar and Allstate, already have a history of investment in Northern Ireland. It is clear from our meetings today that there is considerable potential to build upon that foundation. Over the coming months, Invest Northern Ireland will be working closely with the contacts we have made here."
Mr McGuinness said: "We have met with some potential investors in Chicago, but we have also used our time here to re-establish our relationship with existing investors such as Allstate Chairman, Tom Wilson. Allstate has become a valued and important employer in Belfast, Derry and Strabane and it is important that we continue to develop and expand that relationship."
Following a meeting with Mayor Daley, Mr Robinson said: "Mayor Daley is the longest serving Mayor in the history of Chicago and has presided over some of Chicago’s most considerable achievements. Our meeting today covered a range of issues that could, in the future, prove to be very beneficial to Northern Ireland."
Mr McGuinness said: “Our meeting with a hugely influential political figure such as Mayor Daley is indicative of the high level of engagement that we are undertaking during our visit to the US. Our visit is a demonstration of our unity of purpose to promote investment, create investment and strengthen the peace process.
"This is our first opportunity to brief investors and political leaders here in relation to the Hillsborough Agreement, which will strengthen our institutions and we believe, greatly increase the potential for future investment.
The Ministers also hosted a business reception attended by over 200 of Chicago’s top businessmen and women.