Belfast Telegraph

Foreign investment in Northern Ireland rises 41% in a year

Region outstrips the rest of UK, bringing hundreds of new jobs

BY CLARE WEIR

The number of foreign inward investment projects into Northern Ireland has leapt by 41% in the last year.

UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) said that compares to an 11% increase in the number of foreign investments in the UK as a whole over the last 12 months, bringing 60,000 new jobs and safeguarding another 110,000 posts.

Northern Ireland in particular has recorded significant increases in investment projects rising from 27 projects in the period from 2011 to 2012 to 38 for 2012 to 2013 .

As well as homegrown firms like bus builder Wrightbus and financial technology firm First Derivatives, Northern Ireland is still able to attract big hitters from abroad.

French-Canadian planemaker Bombardier is investing more than £520m on making wings for the new CSeries jet, creating more than 800 jobs at a purpose-built factory in Belfast – the largest-ever inward investment project undertaken in Northern Ireland.

And still the good news keeps coming.

In recent weeks another 650 new posts for US insurer Allstate, more than 400 new jobs for Japanese medical firm Terumo BTC in Larne, nearly 180 for business advisors Deloitte and around 70 each for both Merchant Warehouse and Vello have all been announced.

And Northern Ireland is fast becoming a go-to destination for film companies including HBO, which makes part of the epic Game of Thrones TV series here.

The first and deputy first ministers have recently visited China, Brazil and the Middle East in a bid to attract business.

This is despite a much higher rate of corporation tax compared to our nearest neighbours, the Republic of Ireland – 24% compared to 12.5%.

Alastair Hamilton, chief executive of Invest NI, which offers financial incentives to companies seeking to make a base in Northern Ireland, said that the body helped bring almost 3000 jobs to Northern Ireland during the period.

"This is positive and encouraging news from UKTI which confirms Northern Ireland's reputation as one of the leading destinations in Europe, and one of the most successful within the UK, for inward investment," he said.

"Almost 2,800 foreign direct investment jobs were secured by Invest NI in 2012/13 which is particularly impressive as global markets are still highly competitive and investors remain cautious."

Mr Hamilton added: "Not only do the UKTI report and Invest NI's own figures prove that our inward investment strategy is working, it also demonstrates the strength of the Northern Ireland proposition for key sectors such as legal services, financial services and ICT."

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