Foster ready to do business in US

Copyright: Press Eye Photography

In picture is Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster will visit America next week to strengthen investment and tourism links.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster will visit America next week to strengthen investment and tourism links.

During the four-day visit to California’s Silicon Valley, the Minister will meet with key business influencers and companies, to promote Northern Ireland as an investment location and strengthen trade links.

Speaking in advance of her visit, Arlene Foster said: "Northern Ireland, like the rest of the world, is emerging from the longest recession on record, so we must take advantage of every opportunity to promote inward investment and accelerate the growth of local companies in global markets.

"From 2002-2010, Invest Northern Ireland has secured over £955million of investment commitments from US companies, promoting 6,558 new jobs in sectors including life sciences, ICT and financial services. These are impressive figures however there does remain clear and significant potential to secure additional investment from the US.

"Northern Ireland offers a highly skilled and educated workforce, a world class research base, and is an ideal springboard for American companies seeking growth in Europe and beyond. Of particular importance are our internationally renowned universities which provide a pool of research expertise in fields including information and communications technology, life sciences, as well as a supply of highly motivated graduates.”

The Minister continued: "During my forthcoming visit I will meet with existing investors and a number of potential investors to reinforce the NI proposition.

"It is essential as the global economy recovers and businesses look to the future, that Northern Ireland forms part of their plans. I want to reaffirm my commitment to providing the most supportive environment possible to encourage further investment."

Turning to tourism the Minister said: "I want to encourage more visitors from the US to travel to Northern Ireland to experience our unique culture and heritage. Last year, we attracted 1.5million overseas visitors to Northern Ireland with over 146,000 of those coming from North America. There is also a great deal of interest in Northern Ireland as a business destination and I want to lend my support to Tourism Ireland as they work to promote our excellent conference and business facilities."

US Special Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland Declan Kelly added: "Over the last nine months I have worked very closely with the Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster and her team in a collective effort to target foreign direct investment in business and financial services, emerging technologies, and connected health.

"I have been very impressed with the Minister’s commitment to focus on sectors that will lead the global economy, and recent announcements from leading brands like NYSE and GE Energy have already strengthened Northern Ireland’s strategic position. As we move toward the October Investment Conference, I look forward to meeting the Minister to discuss new areas of potential investment and to make further connections for her Department."

Arlene Foster concluded: "Building on already established relationships, I am determined to raise the profile of Northern Ireland as a competitive investment location for US companies and engage the support of senior business leaders."