Belfast Telegraph

After selling snow to the Eskimos, it's goodbye Dubai and hello India

By David Elliot

Day two of the great ministerial abbreviation mission (OFMDFM and DETI) sees our intrepid group of adventurers say goodbye to Dubai and hello to India. You would like to think this was done with a touch of Bollywood flair but by the looks of the pictures we're getting through it was all about the business.

Before taking to the skies we had the small matter of an export deal to cover, one which would rank up there with selling coals to Newcastle (Upon Tyne), snow to Eskimos or indeed sand to Dubai.

The latter destination was spot on but the products in question were carpets, ones which are being sent by Northern Ireland stalwart Ulster Carpets to the United Arab Emirates.

The fact this company of many years' standing has managed to sell a carpet to a region which prides itself on having some of the best rugs in the world is astounding, as is the fact the buyer is one of the most prestigious hotels in a town where prestigious hotels are as common as half empty cups of coffee in a newsroom.

We don't know whether our own delegates got to stay in the all-suite hotel but if you or I want to feel a little piece of Northern Ireland under our feet in Dubai we'll have to pay between £1,000 and £27,000 a night. Now that's what I call pricey.

While our delegates have been a little cagey about exactly who they're meeting, they are thought to be trying to encourage India's importers to source products and services from Northern Ireland while also extolling the virtues of setting up a European headquarters on these shores.

Like the United Arab Emirates, there's plenty of potential trade to go after so let's hope they do us proud.

For the rest of us left behind it's off to the Chamber of Commerce dinner to hear how Brian O'Driscoll is going to help save the Northern Ireland economy.

Maybe next time Brian could lead a trade mission for us?


From Belfast Telegraph