Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Robinson plans US investment talks

Martin McGuinness (right) with Peter Robinson

Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness hope to hold talks with potential investors when they visit the US within the next few weeks, it has been revealed.

The First Minister refused to disclose details of the meetings but said they were organised by government jobs creation body Invest NI.

In recent years companies such as Citi, NYSE Euronext, Terex and Dow Chemical have located or expanded their presence in Northern Ireland.

Mr Robinson told his Stormont scrutiny committee: "The Deputy First Minister and I are hoping to go out to the states within the next number of weeks because Invest NI have some people they would like us to meet but for commercial reasons I cannot say any more about it."

Invest NI has attracted companies to Northern Ireland through government grants, although there has been a reduction in the amount of public funding available for services in Northern Ireland. The US economic envoy to Northern Ireland, Declan Kelly, recently resigned after helping bring hundreds of jobs to Northern Ireland.

HBO and Universal Studios have created posts by filming epics like Your Highness and Game of Thrones in Northern Ireland.

Mr Robinson said 700 extra jobs had been created and there was an opportunity to expand the Paint Hall in the Titanic Quarter.

"We have the ability to transfer data from Northern Ireland to North America at vast speeds, which can be done on film today and instantly can be sent out to the west coast or elsewhere in North America," he said.

Mr McGuinness said Northern Ireland was in "pole position" to get the second series of the Game of Thrones.

"It should be an encouragement to all those in the creative industries that we can actually build on what we have at the minute and we can go forward in a way that can provide even more jobs," he added.

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