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Northern Ireland right on target to be European manufacturing hub

FOR such a small place, we're really good at making big, globally significant things.

Ingenuity, innovation and endeavour runs deep within our business community so it is little surprise our manufacturing base is internationally renowned for what we produce now and not simply for our industrial heritage.

Manufacturing employs around 80,000 people across every constituency with sales approaching £17bn at home and abroad.

Productivity is increasing, there's greater levels of local and international collaboration and output and employment are growing.

Manufacturing is putting people back to work and creating wealth, supporting our wider economy.

Transportation, manufacturing and aerospace are real star performers for our local economy with huge growth in sales and exports.

Our ambition is to create the most competitive region in Europe in which to start, sustain and grow a manufacturing business creating wealth and work.

Local manufacturers can win business and develop markets. The issue isn't demand, it's the cost of doing business. We need our policymakers to address the costs of energy and provide our businesses with a skilled workforce. Crack those issues and watch our economy take off.

Stephen Kelly is CEO of Manufacturing NI

Belfast Telegraph