Sixteen companies on first trade mission to Russia

Sixteen companies are taking part on the first Invest Northern Ireland trade mission to Russia.

The companies will explore business opportunities in Moscow and St Petersburg from 28 September to 02 October.

The delegation includes several companies such as Randox Laboratories of Crumlin and Newry’s FM Environmental, who are already doing significant business in this important global marketplace. Most of the companies are visiting Russia for the first time.

The week-long visit will enable companies to do business with potential customers they have identified through market research including information provided by Invest NI’s Business Information Services in Belfast. They have also been helped to pinpoint leads by commercial staff at the British diplomatic posts in Moscow and St Petersburg.

Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI’s Trade Director, said Russia had been included in the trade mission programme because of its standing as an important developing market.

“While Russia has also suffered serious setbacks from the global economic downturn, the country is still a massive marketplace that offers significant opportunities across a very broad range of sectors. Significant business opportunities will also be provided by the choice of Sochi as the venue for the Winter Olympics in 2014.

“Russia has strong business links with the UK and Ireland and is the UK's 12th largest export market, with historically strong performance in the field of engineering, financial services, ICT, power and energy, and sports and leisure infrastructure.

“Over the past few years, trade between Russia and the UK has increased significantly. Exports of UK goods were valued at £4.1bn in 2008, an increase of 46 per cent on 2007 figures.

‘It is also designated as one of UKTI's High Growth Markets. Demand for Western goods and expertise remains high, particularly in sectors such as construction, ICT and the creative industries.

‘This mission will enable our companies to assess opportunities at first hand and to consider what steps they should take if they wish to develop in the market. An Invest NI mission is the best and most cost-effective way to evaluate a new market,” added Dr Kell.