Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell has welcomed business leaders from the United Arab Emirates at a Middle East Conference organised by Invest Northern Ireland. Pictured with the Minister are (l-r): Alistair Hamilton, Chief Executive, Invest NI, Ayman Al Awadhi Corporate Business Service (CBS) and Alan McCready, MBE, Managing Director, ISG Middle East.
Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell has welcomed business leaders from the United Arab Emirates at a Middle East Conference organised by Invest Northern Ireland.
Welcoming the guests and encouraging Northern Ireland firms to grasp the opportunities available in the Middle East, Minister Bell said: “The Middle East is a potentially rewarding region in which to do business and offers significant export opportunities for local companies both large and small, and across all sectors in this exciting marketplace. The latest 12 month rolling period from October 2014 to September 2015 show our local exporters sold £241million in manufactured goods to the Middle East and sales of chemical and related products to Saudi Arabia have increased from £5million to £13.6million from 2010/11, which represents an increase of 167%.
"It is tremendous to see Northern Ireland companies achieving this success in a truly world class market. Developing relationships and increasing the awareness of our business base on a global scale is at the very heart of Northern Ireland’s Programme for Government. As an Executive, we recognise the importance of supporting local businesses to explore export markets and this event offers our companies a unique networking opportunity to promote trade and business partnerships.”
Representing the very best of the UAE business community, the visiting delegation consists of members from the Dubai Business Women Council, Corporate Business Services (CBS) and the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group. Representatives of local successful exporting companies will also share their experiences of doing business in the Middle East and expert teams from Invest NI will give advice on how to further develop business opportunities.
The Minister continued: “During my visit to Dubai and Kuwait last week I met with several of the panellists for this conference and witnessed first-hand the business prospects available for our companies. The easing of sanctions in Iran will present new opportunities for Northern Ireland exporters in this market while the scale of opportunities in Qatar linked to investments in infrastructure supporting the delivery of major sports events, such as World Athletics and the Football World Cup, offer unique opportunities for ambitious local companies here.
“Recent successes by Antrim Hills, CDE Global and Heartsine are good examples of what can be achieved in this market and my department and Invest NI are fully committed to supporting businesses as they seek contracts in this region and other global markets.”