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Fresh NI trade plan launched by minister to boost exports

By John Mulgrew

Published 01/11/2016

Economy Minister Simon Hamilton
Economy Minister Simon Hamilton

Invest NI will expand its global reach with up to 10 new offices over the next year as part of the Economy Minister’s Northern Ireland International Trade Plan.

Simon Hamilton has revealed his new plans to boost exports and trade will also include a new Trade Advisory Board.

He will also appoint ‘trade ambassadors’. 

And the Economy Minister says he is also planning to set up a new Air Routes Taskforce, which he says will help “develop a range of policies and interventions that we can utilise to open up new connections”.

“Competing globally isn’t just about making Northern Ireland an attractive destination for investment. It’s also about making us an attractive destination for visitors,” he said.

“We’ve always known that we live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

“We might not have the warmest weather, but our people offer a warm welcome.

“More people from every corner of the globe are realising that Northern Ireland is a must-see destination.”

He said he would expand Invest NI’s reach further, and said: “I will develop a new International Trade Plan for Northern Ireland, which will establish a new Trade Advisory Board, appoint Northern Ireland Trade Ambassadors, expand Invest NI’s international presence in up to 10 more locations by the end of next year and create new trade, investment and innovation hubs in key global markets.

“I am determined to work side by side with local industry as we make Northern Ireland a confident, outward-looking trading nation.”

The Minister he said the region has “struggled to secure and maintain air routes to key cities and markets”.  Earlier this year the Executive gave a £9m bail-out to United Airlines to maintain its route from Belfast International to Newark in the US.

“I’m not satisfied with sitting back and saying that because we are small, we can’t sustain air routes to places like the US, Canada and the Middle East as well as hubs around Europe.

“I want us to aggressively pursue new routes that will help us attract tourists and boost our international trade links.”

The department says the advisory board will draw together some of Northern Ireland’s top business leaders, which will “provide assistance to the minister and Invest NI as they look to the world for new trade links”.

It’s also planning to set up new “trade, investment and innovation the aforementioned hubs in key global markets.

Belfast Telegraph

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