Ministers set out on business mission
The First Minister and Deputy First Minister have highlighted the importance of inward investment to Northern Ireland’s economy ahead of an investment mission to the United States which will include a meeting with US President Barack Obama.
Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness spoke of the difference which inward investment has made to the province’s economy but said there was also potential for future investment by US companies.
Mr Robinson said: “This will be my third visit as First Minister to the US to discuss potential investment opportunities with US based companies. The results of these visits are there for all to see. In the past year alone we have seen some of America’s best known brand names invest in Northern Ireland. The New York Stock Exchange announced that it would expand its technologies division in Belfast, creating up to 400 new jobs.
“Universal Pictures completed the filming of Your Highness, a multi-million dollar feature film, at the Paint Hall in Belfast. This film alone infused nearly £10m into the local economy, employing hundreds of cast and crew from Northern Ireland.
“In June, HBO will begin filming Game of Thrones in the Paint Hall, a nine part television series that could potentially be worth £20m to the local economy.”
Mr McGuinness said: “As the First Minister has pointed out, despite perhaps the most economically difficult year in living memory, we have succeeded in attracting significant inward investment. We have competed with other regions and have won significant investment. The reason that we are outperforming others is, I believe, quite simple — investors recognise we have the local talent and expertise to build and grow their businesses.”
The Ministers will begin their visit with a series of investment meetings in Chicago where they will also meet the Mayor of the city Richard M Daley, before heading to Washington DC for further investment meetings. On St Patrick's Day, the First Minister and deputy First Minister will meet with US President Barack Obama, after meeting Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Their visit coincides with an Invest Northern Ireland trade mission to the US.