Belfast Telegraph

Trade accelerator plan to aid local exports launched

By Yvette Shapiro

A major push is under way to encourage more Northern Ireland companies to explore overseas markets.

According to the latest figures from HMRC, this is the only region of the UK to see an increase in exports in the past year - up 9.5%.

But sales abroad are dominated by several large companies, like Bombardier, Almac and Wrightbus, with smaller firms reluctant to venture further afield.

And sales to our nearest neighbour, the Republic, actually fell by 2.5%. Business with the EU was also down slightly.

Economy Minister Simon Hamilton has launched a trade accelerator plan to boost local exports as Britain begins negotiations to leave the European Union following June's referendum.

"Growing our exports is critical to growing local business and transforming Northern Ireland into a globally competitive economy," he said.

"Equally, a new era is beginning for the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland must be ready to seize the opportunities it presents.

"I want us to build on the success of this latest 9.5% rise in exports and help Northern Ireland to become an increasingly outward looking, trading region."

The accelerator plan will help companies to take part in overseas visits and exhibitions and there will be a particular focus on helping firms to win contracts in Great Britain in the construction, agri-food and hospitality markets, as well as in the public sector.

Belfast Telegraph