Foster concludes successful US mission


Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has concluded her four day mission to California’s Silicon Valley to promote investment opportunities and encourage tourism.

During the visit, the Minister met with key business influencers and companies, to further develop strong economic ties between Northern Ireland and the US.

Commenting on the visit, Arlene Foster said: “Over the past eight years, Invest NI has attracted 85 employment related inward investment projects from US companies creating almost 6558 new jobs and safeguarding a further 6200. In addition, more than 460 innovation led projects have been secured.

“Collectively, these successes by Invest NI have resulted in almost £1billion of investment commitments from US companies. These are impressive figures which clearly demonstrate how important our relationship with the US is and that it shall remain one of our most important target markets for future investment.

“My visit here not only shows my commitment to promote economic growth by increasing trade and investment with the US, but it also highlights how both countries are eager to work together to create new opportunities and development partnerships.

“Collaborations are successful if there are mutual benefits that each side can bring to the table. Northern Ireland has much to offer and we have reinforced the message that it is a dynamic place to do business, with a skilled and well-educated workforce, a strong infrastructure and third-level institutions where the commercial exploitation of R&D and innovation lie at the heart of the economic agenda.

“Last week’s publication of the Ernst & Young’s 2010 European Attractiveness survey highlighted how Northern Ireland continues to be a strong location of choice for inward investors seeking a UK location. Belfast was ranked the UK's second most attractive location, after London, for foreign direct investment, and I want to encourage US investors to take full advantage of the exciting opportunities available.”

The Minister concluded: “Ultimately, investment will lead to the creation of new high quality jobs and support the development of a stronger, wealthier, more competitive local economy. Invest NI will continue to build on its work to date in the US to identify opportunities and actively promote Northern Ireland as a competitive and attractive place to do business.”