Foster plans investment mission to North America

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster will visit the US from 6 to 9 December to strengthen investment, trade and tourism links.

During the three day visit, the Minister will meet with senior business leaders in both Boston and New York.

Outlining the objectives of the visit, Arlene Foster said: "Building on the business relationships already established by Invest Northern Ireland, I am determined to raise the profile of Northern Ireland as an investment opportunity for US companies and engage the support of senior business leaders and influencers.

"Northern Ireland has a skilled and highly educated workforce, excellent universities and ambitious companies with a commitment to international business and innovative products and services. This visit will give me an opportunity to brief political and business leaders about the Executive’s plans to drive economic growth in Northern Ireland and to outline our advantages as an ideal springboard for American companies seeking growth in Europe and beyond."

Turning to tourism the Minister said: "I want to encourage more visitors from the US to travel to Northern Ireland to experience our wonderful landscape, our unique culture and heritage, sample our quality, locally produced food and, above all, meet our genuinely warm and welcoming people. Northern Ireland was declared a 'must see' destination by the Lonely Planet and research confirms that interest in visiting Northern Ireland is strong in the US. During my visit, I want to lend my support to Tourism Ireland who are going for growth out of the US next year.”

Kamala S. Lakhdhir, US Consulate General in Northern Ireland said: "Recent announcements from the New York Stock Exchange and Broadsoft, underscore Northern Ireland's potential as a viable and competitive place in which to do business. In a similar vein, many local companies are looking to the US as a means of expanding their operations. We hope that the Minister's visit to the United States will help build on these mutually beneficial achievements."

During the visit the Minister will also meet with Declan Kelly, the US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland, and members of the newly formed working group, made up of local and US business leaders. The panel of business experts has been established to support economic development in Northern Ireland and to underline how the United States can help promote inward investment on an on-going basis.

The Minister concluded: "The US has played an important role in Northern Ireland’s growth and development, and it continues to be a significant source of both inward investment and trade revenue. 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.

"I look forward to building on the discussions that will take place and ultimately to securing more investment from US companies, develop further trade opportunities for Northern Ireland firms and encourage tourism growth."