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Ulster aerospace firms on cloud nine in US

Nine Northern Ireland aerospace companies have been introduced to some leading US firms in the sector in Washington.

The US firms - including Honeywell Aerospace, Parker Hannifin, Pratt & Whitney and Spirit AeroSystems - are suppliers of Canadian firm Bombardier Aerospace, which employs 5,000 people at Bombardier Shorts in Belfast.

The event, attended by Executive ministers, was part of the US:NI investment conference which this week saw 60 jobs announced for the province courtesy of US investment.

Employment and Learning Minister Sir Reg Empey said yesterday's event was "unprecedented". "The local companies involved would not otherwise have had the chance to get through the doors of such businesses."

First Minister Peter Robinson said it was a chance for Northern Ireland firms to form "meaningful business relationships" with the US. "These meetings will enable our highly innovative design and manufacturing businesses to extend their reach in global markets and support the future growth of the economy in Northern Ireland."

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said Northern Ireland firms could showcase "world-class expertise". "By building genuine, mutually beneficial relationships with these US businesses, our aerospace companies can maximise the global opportunities in this lucrative industry."

The Northern Ireland aerospace firms include J Huddleston Engineering and Moyola Precision Engineering.

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Sir Reg said it was an unmissable opportunity for businesses.