Invest NI spearheads campaign to exploit new market opportunities
Invest NI has started a campaign to encourage companies to dip their toes into emerging markets.
Agency chief executive Alastair Hamilton announced a major export drive as he visited Saudi Arabia on a trade mission this week.
Around 20 Northern Ireland firms are taking part with Invest NI also opening a trade office in Jeddah.
This week Co Tyrone company Muldoon Transport Systems announced a £1m deal selling 19 trailers to a poultry company near Riyadh.
Mr Hamilton said Invest NI had a major programme for visits to growing markets.
He said: "The new programme lists 70 events including trade missions and opportunities to take part in major industry exhibitions in almost every continent.
"Our aim in shaping such an extensive programme of events is to encourage more companies, especially first time exporters, than ever before to look abroad for new business, in the markets that are right for them".
He said Invest NI was responding to targets in the draft Programme for Government of 15% in manufacturing exports by 2015 and 25,000 new jobs.
"The target of 15% growth in exports is certainly achievable but we should remember that we are facing challenging economic conditions.
"We need to continually encourage established exporters to look to new markets and get many more businesses to widen their sales horizons and become exporters."
Mr Hamilton added: "While conditions in Europe are immensely challenging and likely to remain so over the next few years, we've identified major markets, such as India, Saudi Arabia, China, South Africa, Russia and South America, which are still achieving significant GDP growth.
"We are working with companies to exploit the opportunities these markets offer."