29/06/2007

US Envoy encourages Inward Investment in NI

Economy Minister Nigel Dodds has welcomed the statement by the US Special Envoy on her commitment encouraging inward investment for Northern Ireland.

The statement followed a meeting with Paula Dobriansky, a group of US business leaders and five Northern Ireland Ministers including Mr Dodds.

The statement confirmed a commitment to encouraging business investment in the Northern Ireland economy.

Mr Dodds said: “Today’s meeting was very positive and reaffirmed the united position that all Northern Ireland Ministers have for forging and developing strong partnership in the US.

“We discussed the opportunities available to both Northern Ireland and overseas investors, in particular those from our largest investment market, the USA.

“We highlighted the benefits of investing in Northern Ireland and discussed one of the major initiatives to be taken forward. This included a series of trade and investment meetings in both countries, which are to be undertaken in the coming months.

“These meetings are a direct result of the announcement made earlier this year by the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, now Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, in relation to major investment conferences.

“My ministerial colleagues and I are committed to working closely with the U.S. Administration and business partners to make these meetings very successful. All of this has the potential to build on existing and new relationships and to strengthen the Northern Ireland economy for the benefit of all the people.”

The delegation included Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Minister of Finance and Personnel Peter Robinson, Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment Nigel Dodds, Minister of Social Development Margaret Ritchie, and Junior Minister Gerry Kelly, who discussed business development and investment opportunities in key sectors of their economy.

"Northern Ireland has entered a new era," Ms Dobriansky said, "and the US wants to explore ways that we can help encourage investment in Northern Ireland that will help build the shared future the people of Northern Ireland so deeply deserve."

Ms Dobriansky, who travelled to Belfast in early June, said: "Repeatedly, I heard that economic development and inward investment are crucial to sustained peace and a better future; as the President’s Special Envoy on Northern Ireland, I am committed to addressing these priorities."

(SP/KMcA)

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