Belfast Telegraph

First Minister tight-lipped on US investors

By Margaret Canning

The First Minister named the film studios he and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness met on their investment mission to the US this month - but he would not confirm the identity of other potential investors the pair held meetings with.

Mr Robinson said naming a potential investor could be "prejudicial", but added: "It's sufficient to say we met people in the financial services sector where there's a good prospect of having them invest in Northern Ireland."

Yesterday Chicago Mercantile Exchange confirmed it was visited by the duo. But it said visits from 'dignitaries' were frequent and that they had no plans to open a new office in Northern Ireland.

The DUP leader said corporation tax was coming up in conversations with investors. "I don't think that we've met any investor that hasn't raised the issue of corporation tax," he said.

"It's a common feature and would be a very effective additional product for us to have in our portfolio."

But he said much-reported comments by Finance Minister Sammy Wilson that a cut in corporation tax would not happen in the lifetime of the present Assembly had been wrongly interpreted.

"If you look at what he did say, he indicated that there would be a lead-in time.

"That allows our people in the US and elsewhere to be attracting business to Northern Ireland on the basis of what the corporation tax level would be. It would be a lead-in time of something like 18 months or two years before a company would come to Northern Ireland and maybe another year before it would make profits."