Ministers target export growth and new business opportunities in India

The First Minister Peter Robinson, deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Economy Minister Arlene Foster have arrived in India at the start of a three day visit to promote exports and develop new opportunities for local businesses.

During their visit Ministers will visit the cities of Mumbai and New Delhi. They will lead 24 local companies on Invest Northern Ireland’s latest business mission to the country and launch, ni2012 in New Delhi.

Speaking about the visit the First Minister Peter Robinson MLA said: "As an economy, India offers tremendous opportunities for Northern Ireland both in terms of foreign direct investment and growing our exports.

“We can already point to a number of successes. Much of our business innovation already touches India on a daily basis – from the tyre pressures on their cars to the medical testing equipment in their hospitals or the processing of aggregate stone to build their roads. Our challenge is to grow this trade and I am confident that this week’s trade mission will deliver new opportunities for growth as well as highlight Northern Ireland’s investment in India to support market access in the wider South Asian region.

Commenting on the opportunities the deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: "It is important for us to provide leadership and support for over 30 local companies that have a commercial operation in India. These companies have demonstrated what can be achieved and the visit provides an opportunity for more local companies to build trading links with a country of over one billion people.

“There is an important opportunity for Indian businesses to gain a better understanding of why we are becoming a location of choice for major international investments. Equally, the trade mission provides their companies with the opportunity to engage with our businesses to access the innovative products we produce and the services we can provide.”

Commenting on the visit the Minister for Enterprise and Tourism Arlene Foster said: "I am delighted to be returning to this exciting market to support INI’s trade mission. Some participants are already active in the Indian market, whilst others are making their first venture. UK onshore investments are back on the Indian IT business agenda and I hope other Indian IT companies will follow L&T Infotech who set up a software development centre in 2010 to support UK and European clients.

“2012 is also a hugely exciting year for Northern Ireland as we celebrate Our Time, Our Place. With major events including Titanic Belfast Festival and hosting the Irish Open golf championship there is a real opportunity to raise the profile of our tourism products in the Indian marketplace.”