Trade Mission:  Singapore

Oral Answers to Questions – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 17th February 2014.

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Photo of Michaela Boyle Michaela Boyle Sinn Féin 3:15 pm, 17th February 2014

3. asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment for an update on her recent trip to Singapore with Ministers from Dublin and London. (AQT 733/11-15)

Photo of Arlene Foster Arlene Foster DUP

I thank the Member for that question because I have not been able to sandwich that response in anywhere else on today's agenda.  The trade mission was the first of its type in so far as it was the first joint mission between the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and Invest Northern Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and UK Trade and Investment worked very well to put forward three Ministers to go to Singapore to talk about the aerospace sector.  We have a very strong aerospace sector in Northern Ireland.  We have, of course, the very big influence of Bombardier in east Belfast, but we also have about 50 companies involved in the aerospace supply chain.  I was very pleased to be present at the Singapore Airshow.  It is probably the third-most important global aerospace show, and it was important that we were there to put forward our case.

Photo of Michaela Boyle Michaela Boyle Sinn Féin

Go raibh maith agat.  I thank the Minister for her response.  Will she indicate how Invest NI, when organising trade missions, works with local councils, such as my council in Strabane, to promote subregions as a possible destination for foreign investors?

Photo of Arlene Foster Arlene Foster DUP

That issue has come up on many occasions, and I have always said to the councils involved that they need to bring forward their proposition to us so that we are aware of the offering in the council area.  We have 26 councils at present, and that will soon be down to 11.

In particular, I ask the Member to look at our newly developed app for each of the council areas.  Councils can put their individual strengths and skills advantages on the app so that it can be given to all potential investors.  I know that she will join me in welcoming the recent announcement of jobs in O'Neills.  Over 60 jobs were created with the help of the jobs fund in a very worthwhile and good investment for Strabane.