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NI now open for business, Brokenshire set to tell US

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

Published 08/09/2016

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire is to make his first official visit to the United States this week.

The recently appointed minister will be in Washington for a series of meetings with Obama administration officials and business leaders over the next two days.

Topping the agenda will be Brexit, business issues and implementation of the Stormont House Agreement.

Speaking ahead of the whistle-stop visit, Mr Brokenshire said: "My message is Northern Ireland is open for business and we will make the most of the opportunities ahead.

"The enduring friendship and close economic ties between the United Kingdom and the United States is a solid platform for Northern Ireland firms wanting to do business here.

"Exports from Northern Ireland to the US were up by 73.9% in the last year to £1.5bn, and imports from the US are also up by 3.9%.

Mr Brokenshire is expected to hold roundtable discussions with US business leaders to press the case for inward investment.

The Secretary of State will also update policy makers on the Government's priorities in Northern Ireland and outline the progress made on a range of issues including welfare reform, civil service restructuring and the establishment of an independent panel on tackling paramilitary activity since last November's historic agreement was signed.

The continuing efforts to deal with intractable legacy issues will also be discussed.

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