Northern Ireland exports to UAE are up almost 20%
Northern Ireland's exports to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have grown by nearly 20%, the Enterprise Minister has said.
Jonathan Bell spoke as led a delegation of 13 food firms - selling products from salmon to sugar-free confectionery - taking part in one of the world's biggest trade shows in the Gulf.
Dale Farm, Glenarm Organic Salmon and confectionery company Free'ist are among those exhibiting at Gulfood in Dubai.
The Minister said 2016 - the Year of Food and Drink in the province - was an opportunity for Northern Ireland to grow its foodie reputation on the world stage.
And he said the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were a key target market, with a 17% increase in exports in the 12-month rolling period from October 2014 to September 2015, compared to the year before.
He added: "As an Executive, we recognise the importance of supporting our local businesses to explore export markets, helping them to develop international business opportunities in key markets. Northern Ireland already boasts some of the world's finest produce and, as we look to grow our international reputation during Northern Ireland's Year of Food and Drink, this exhibition is giving us a platform to raise our profile and to promote our local food offering on a global stage."
Glanbia Cheese, Graham's Bakery, Greenfields Ireland Ltd, Glens of Antrim Potatoes, LacPatrick, Lakeland Pritchitts, Mackle Snacks, Antrim Hills Spring Water Co Ltd, BFree Foods, CocoMojo and Crust & Crumb are all taking part in the event, which ends tomorrow.
This week, Antrims Hills Spring Water, which is based in Ballyclare, announced that it had reached a deal with Dubai Duty Free to supply its water brand Water Within.