Belfast Telegraph

Firms chase worldwide sales with trade trips

Iraq, Kurdistan, Brazil, Estonia and Vietnam will all be visited by Northern Ireland companies this year as part of Invest NI trade missions.

The economic development agency yesterday unveiled its Market Visits programme for 2010-11, which includes 70 trade missions and events in global markets.

Invest NI said first-time trade missions for various sectors are scheduled for Brazil, Estonia, Latvia and Vietnam while there will be return visits to established markets including China, India, the US, South East Asia, Scandinavia and Russia.

Exporters will have a chance to look for tie-ups in Kurdistan, while 14 other events are planned for the Middle East, including visits to Iraq, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Oman.

Reflecting the potential of Northern Ireland’s renewable energy sector, the agency also said its programme of visits would include several ‘green technology’ events such as EcoBuild in London, the Husum Wind Show in Germany and Renewable Energy World in Amsterdam.

It will also be organising trips for technology firms to events such as the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the Microsoft Worldwide Partnership Conference in Washington DC and the Apple Worldwide Developers’ Conference in San Franciso.

Invest said other major events are scheduled for companies in sectors such as life sciences, food and construction.

Trade director Dr Vicky Kell, said the Market Visits Programme was far-reaching and aimed to encourage as many companies as possible to exploit worldwide opportunities.

She said: “It includes missions to the so-called BRIC markets — Brazil, Russia, India and China — which have been identified as offering extensive opportunities for companies of most sizes and across a broad range of sectors.

“We’ve decided to take an exploratory mission to Kurdistan because it’s a stable and largely self-contained region within Iraq. The regional government is now focusing its energies on economic development and has extensive oil and gas resources, revenues from which are increasingly being invested in infrastructural improvements within a massive reconstruction programme.

“As well as Kurdistan and 14 other events in the Middle East, there will be nine in Asia including three missions to India, two to China and visits to Malaysia, Vietnam, Korea and Taiwan. Thirty seven events are planned in Great Britain, Ireland and the rest of Europe and 17 to the US.”

Belfast Telegraph