Thirty three executives from 29 Northern Ireland companies are aiming to pinpoint new business opportunities on one of the biggest ever trade missions to South Korea and Japan. They are taking part on an Invest NI organised trade mission to the Far East from 5-12 April.

The participating companies will be exploring opportunities for technology transfer, joint ventures and strategic alliances, as well as trade exchanges during the mission, part of an extensive programme of global business activities developed by Invest NI.

The companies will be meeting existing and potential business contacts at briefings in Seoul and Tokyo during the week-long mission.

The majority of the companies taking part are experienced exporters and many already have significant business in these markets. As the world’s second biggest economy, Japan is now a target market for many Northern Ireland manufacturers and services companies Four companies – Mo Team, Crumlin; Openwave, Belfast; PF Copeland, Newtownabbey; and Ryobi Aluminium Casting (UK) are taking part in their first Northern Ireland trade mission.

In 2000/1, Northern Ireland manufacturers exported goods worth over £400 million to key Asian markets such as Japan.

Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s Director of Trade, commenting on the mission, said: “The size of the mission reflects the high level of interest among Northern Ireland companies in doing business in these Asian markets

“In a delegation that is broadly representative of Northern Ireland’s diversified and successful industrial base a number of the companies are acknowledged leaders in leading-edge technologies such as Openwave in software for new generation mobile telecommunications, and Andor Technology, a specialist in scientific cameras. Beaufort Air Sea Equipment and RFD are industry leaders in aviation and marine survival equipment and Mivan a pioneer in fast-track construction techniques.

“Encouraging and assisting local companies to improve their competitiveness and achieve sustainable growth through participating in overseas trade activities is an essential element within Invest NI’s Principles for Business Support.

“Over 1,000 companies have taken part in Invest NI trade activities in overseas markets during 2002/3 and exports current account for 38 per cent of all sales, ” he added.

Northern Ireland companies on the Invest NI trade mission to South Korea (5-8 April) and Japan (8-12April)

Alpha Environmental, Coleraine, Environmental consultancy services
Arca Technologies, Mallusk, Telecommunications simulation
Avalon Guitars, Newtownards, Acoustic guitars
AXT, Castlewellan, Waterproofing equipment
Beaufort Air
Sea Equipment, Dunmurry, Aviation and marine survival
Biocolour, Newtownabbey, Chemical testing solutions Bridgedale Outdoor, Newtownards,Outdoor pursuits socks Capemist Knitwear, Ballymena, Knitwear
CP Productions, Lisburn, Framed prints and mirrors
Denman International, Bangor, Haircare products
Evron Foods, Craigavon, Speciality breads
Fayrefield Foods, Belfast, Dairy marketing
First Derivatives, Newry, Financial software
Fleming Agri-Products, Londonderry, Agricultural machinery
Glen Electric, Newry, Electric heating
Growmoor Horticulture, Dungannon, Moss peat and compost
Irish Art Group, Ballycastle, Irish paintings
Mivan, Antrim, Construction
Mo Team, Crumlin, Industrial safety services
Munster Simms, Bangor, Water pumps and plumbing
Openwave, Belfast, Mobile communications software
P F Copeland, Newtownabbey,Metal fabrication
RFD, Dunmurry, Marine and aviation survival systems
Ryobi Aluminium Casting (UK), Carrickfergus, Aluminium castings
Singularity, Londonderry, Software
St Brendan’s Irish Cream Liqueurs, Londonderry, Cream liqueurs
Ulster Carpet Mills, Portadown, Axminster and Wilton carpets
Ulster Weavers Home Fashions, Belfast, Kitchen co-ordinates