29/11/2005

NI manufacturing and exports rise

Total sales and exports by manufacturing companies in Northern Ireland have continued to increase over the last year, new figures have revealed.

According to the Northern Ireland Manufacturing Sales and Exports survey, sales by manufacturing companies were worth £13.8 billion in 2004/05, an increase of 2.5% over the year. Sales to Great Britain, meanwhile, account for 43.5% of total sales and grew by 1.1% over the year to £6 billion.

The value of Exports at £4.5 billion has risen by 3.5% over the year at current prices and now represents almost a third, (32.7%) of all manufacturing sales.

The Republic of Ireland is Northern Ireland's single most important export market, with exports continuing to rise, this year by 11.6%, to stand at an estimated £1.2 billion. Sales outside the EU were worth £2.1 billion in 2004/05 with sales to China estimated to be worth some 5% of this market.

Enterprise Minister, Angela Smith, who is currently travelling on an Invest NI mission to China, described the figures as "encouraging".

"Northern Ireland's manufacturers must continue to explore new markets and take full advantage of the opportunities that are presented by those areas of the world, such as China, which are experiencing high levels of growth," the Minister said.

"The Chinese market offers significant opportunities to sell Northern Ireland's undoubted expertise in high value added products and services.

"The scale and rapidity of change in China is truly impressive and this visit highlights the potential to expand trade to the mutual benefit of both countries. I would encourage all companies, to continue to explore and exploit opportunities to trade in China and other external markets."

(MB/SP)

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