Foster welcomes appointment of US economy envoy

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster today met with Declan Kelly, the newly appointed US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland.

The Minister took the opportunity to welcome Mr Kelly to Northern Ireland, along with the recently appointed US Ambassador Louis Susman and the new US Consul General for Northern Ireland, Kamala S. Lakhdhir.

Following their meeting at Invest NI, the Minister said: “I would like to congratulate Declan Kelly as Economic Envoy for Northern Ireland, which was only announced last week by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. I would also wish to congratulate Ambassador Susman on his new appointment and welcome Kamala Lakhdhir to her new role as US Consul General.”

The Minister highlighted the important role of the US in Northern Ireland.

She continued: “The US has played an important role in Northern Ireland’s growth and development, bringing significant change to trade and investment opportunities here.

“While these are, of course, exceptionally challenging times for Northern Ireland and indeed right across the globe, the US continues to be a key trade and investment partner for us. Over 14,000 people are employed in US companies and North America is our second largest export market after the Republic of Ireland.

“The presence here today of Washington’s new Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland is therefore very welcome.”

The Minister reinforced the Executive’s commitment to economic growth and outlined her commitment to building on the positive relationship that Northern Ireland and the US have enjoyed over the years.

Arlene Foster said: “The Executive has placed the economy at the centre of its Programme for Government. We do not underestimate the importance of the role of the US in helping us achieve our trade and investment goals as we aim to help companies survive the downturn, create new businesses, seek to increase export opportunities and attract new companies to Northern Ireland.

“We have enjoyed excellent working relationships with the US Administrations in the past and I look forward to working with Declan Kelly and this Administration, as we seek to build on these ties and look to the future.”