Belfast Telegraph

Japanese ambassador leads delegation to strengthen links

By Chris Nelson

A group of Japanese business delegates visited Northern Ireland last week in an attempt to boost trade, inward investment and tourism links between the two regions.

They included the Japanese Ambassador to the UK, Keiichi Hayashi, and spent two days meeting companies, stakeholders and representatives from universities and colleges.

The group visited five Japanese-owned companies which employ approximately 2,300 people.

Alistair Hamilton, chief executive of Invest NI said, "We were delighted to welcome the Ambassador and his business delegation to Northern Ireland.

"Securing inward investment and boosting trade opportunities remains a key priority and in the current difficult economic climate it is essential that we continue to highlight the strengths of the Northern Ireland offering." He said there is significant potential to secure additional investment from Japan as well as growing export opportunities.

In the last two years companies in Northern Ireland exported around £32m of goods and services to Japan. A Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment Export survey shows NI manufacturing businesses had sales of £416m in Asia over 2011 and 2012.

"Securing inward investment and boosting trade opportunities remains a key priority and in the current difficult economic climate it is essential that we continue to highlight the strengths of the Northern Ireland offering," Mr Hamilton said.

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