Promotion of Northern Ireland

Enterprise, Trade and Investment – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 25th February 2002.

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Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP 2:30 pm, 25th February 2002

2. asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment what steps have been taken to promote Northern Ireland as an investment location in Europe.

(AQO 898/01)

Photo of Reg Empey Reg Empey UUP

In January 2001, Mr David Trimble, Mr Séamus Mallon and myself launched IDB’s European marketing campaign at events in Paris, Düsseldorf and Berlin. The objective was to raise the profile of Northern Ireland as an attractive location for investment. Despite the global economic downturn, IDB continues to build on contacts made then and has appointed a new sales representative in Brussels.

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

I was aware of the launch; that is why I asked the question. What opportunities have been developed for local companies to create linkages with other similar businesses in Europe to improve efficiency, development and marketing opportunities?

Photo of Reg Empey Reg Empey UUP

In addition to our office in Düsseldorf, we have a representative based in Brussels who looks after the Low Countries and also has a role in France. We have an office in the British Embassy in Paris that we can use from time to time to promote events. The European market is crucial, and inward investors to Northern Ireland are frequently attracted on the basis that we are part of the European Union, with access to that huge market.

There are opportunities. However, while we have had some successes in software in the last year or so in Germany, the currency issue is a difficulty.

We do not have to give up because the current climate is negative. We must put in the groundwork to ensure that we continue to get a flow of inward investment. On a positive note, Trade International, the international trading arm of IDB, continues to lead missions and attend exhibitions in Europe. Those have been successful, well attended and supported by the business community, and we consider Europe to be one of our main areas for economic activity for the future.