First Minister Arlene Foster, and deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness have announced the establishment of a new Advisory Council to support trade and investment between Northern Ireland and the United States of America.
First Minister Arlene Foster said: “We are establishing an Advisory Council in both the east and west coast to help the Northern Ireland Executive accelerate investment and trade opportunities. The Advisory Council will provide advice to Ministers as we continue to grow the economy. It will also use its networks and connections to reach potential new investors to support Invest NI’s drive to win even more investment for Northern Ireland.
“The US remains a vital market for Northern Ireland. It is our number one foreign direct investor with nearly 180 US companies employing over 24,000 people in Northern Ireland. It is also an important export market with Northern Ireland companies currently exporting just over £1.1 billion of goods to the US.
“The addition of a reduced rate of Corporation Tax to our investment proposition will make Northern Ireland one of the most attractive locations in Western Europe. It will also open up opportunities for new companies and sectors to choose Northern Ireland as an investment location.
“I am confident that the Advisory Council will be a great asset to helping us capitalise on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
The deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness said: “We are delighted Shaun Kelly, Global Chief Operating Officer of KPMG International and John Hartnett, founder and CEO of SVG Partners LLC, and founder and president of the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) have agreed to chair the two arms of the new Advisory Council.
“Shaun Kelly, a native of the north of Ireland, has a strong profile both at home and in the US, with strong links in the financial and business services sector. John Hartnett is a senior technology executive and investor based in Silicon Valley, very well known in the technology sector in the US and Ireland.
“Over the last five years we have seen investments from the US grow steadily. With the support of the Advisory Council and the continued work by Invest we hope to continue this trend and secure even more investment from this market.”
The Advisory Council will have five or six members in each location and will be fully operational by late spring 2016.