Seventeen companies and organisations from Northern Ireland are in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar this week for trade and technology transfer talks with local businesses and universities.
The mission has been organised by Invest Northern Ireland as part of an ongoing programme of trade development initiatives in Gulf markets. Around 30 companies will also be visiting Saudi Arabia in May, the second trade mission to this important marketplace since January.
The group of senior business people is also being assisted by staff from Invest NI’s Technology and Development Centre at Dubai Internet City. Invest NI has had a trade and business development operation in Dubai since 1994 and was among the first organisations to locate at Internet City.
Invest NI organises an extensive programme of visits to Gulf markets, including the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia annually. The programme also includes participation at major international trade exhibitions in the region such as the Big 5 Construction, Gulfood and Arab Health.
Companies on the current mission are visiting existing and potential customers in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar, and many of the companies are new to Gulf markets.
The group includes companies with extensive experience in key industries such as oil and gas and construction. Overall, the delegation is broadly representative of industry in Northern Ireland.
Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director, commenting on the mission, said: “As the large number of companies visiting the Emirates for the first time on this mission shows, this region continues to be among the most popular markets for Northern Ireland companies. Our commitment to these markets stretches back almost 20 years.
“Even in today’s difficult global economic conditions, the Gulf continues to appeal to our companies because it remains a strong market and is generally seen as a good place in which to do business particularly for companies in sectors such as construction, oil and gas, and environmental technologies.
“Our mission includes a number of companies in these sectors and offering extensive expertise in equipment used for water treatment and to counter pollution.”
Visiting these markets for the first time on an Invest NI mission are Acorn Wood Mouldings, AM Light, Environmental Products and Services, Bentley Instrument Company, Hill Engineering, Kainos Software, Mindmill, NI-CO, and Queen’s University Belfast.