Belfast Telegraph

Why enticing the US is a safe bet for our economy

by David Elliott

When it comes to inward investment or export, the US tends to be fairly high up on the list of "countries we'd like to do business with".

Because it's an economic behemoth which already has strong links with us, one which speaks the same language as us, and has a government which takes a special interest in us, good news for its economy is good news for ours.

That the US economy grew at an annualised rate of 1.7% in the second quarter of the year buoyed stock markets around the world yesterday and gave an injection of energy to our own which it dearly needs.

The region is one of our biggest export destinations and you only have to take a look at the list of the most recent inward investors and you'll find that most of them are from across the pond.

Punting for both inward investment and export business earlier this week was a raft of Northern Ireland companies which target the security world, a sector of the economy which our troubled past has actually helped hone.

They were at an Invest NI-organised conference in Titanic Belfast which was well-timed to catch the top bods from police, prison and fire services from around the world. Uniformed officers aren't your usual attendees at business events (unless things get a little out of hand) but for this growing sector of the economy here, much of which is made up of ex-officers, they are the target market and one which needs to be courted.

And it is a big market, said to be worth around $500bn (£330bn) globally, and if Northern Ireland can snatch only a slightly larger chunk of that then it would be a big boon for the economy here as a whole.

Without doubt the US is as important a target region for this sector as for others but after chatting to the delegates on Tuesday night it's clear there is demand for our specialist skills and products across the world.

Let's hope that proves the case.

Belfast Telegraph

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