Dual Market Access

Oral Answers to Questions — Economy – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 22nd March 2022.

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Photo of Matthew O'Toole Matthew O'Toole Social Democratic and Labour Party 3:15 pm, 22nd March 2022

7. Mr O'Toole asked the Minister for the Economy how many enquiries Invest NI has received from investors relating to Northern Ireland’s dual market access. (AQO 3239/17-22)

Photo of Gordon Lyons Gordon Lyons DUP

Across its international network, Invest NI promotes Northern Ireland as a destination of choice for mobile foreign direct investment, based on a compelling value proposition that combines our key strengths of a talented and loyal workforce, advanced telecoms infrastructure, a pro-business environment, competitive operating costs and proximity to major markets. Potential investors assess the aforementioned value proposition as an overall package when determining the optimum location for their international operations, rather than any individual factor being considered in isolation when evaluating our attractiveness relative to other competing locations.

Invest NI engages with a wide range of businesses and locations regarding establishing a presence in Northern Ireland, based on the strength of our overall value proposition. The number of live enquiries changes continually as new leads are identified and others do not proceed. The Member will appreciate that investment discussions are commercially sensitive — indeed, attracting FDI is a highly competitive process — and as such that I am not in a position to disclose the status of any of those specific enquiries. In general, discussions with potential investors can take upwards of 12 months. Any decision to invest in Northern Ireland will be announced in conjunction with the investor when appropriate.

I also want to put on record that I let Invest NI do its job to market and sell Northern Ireland. The Member has previously accused me, in the House and online, of stymieing that work. That is incorrect and has been confirmed by Invest NI. An apology would be appreciated.

Photo of Patsy McGlone Patsy McGlone Social Democratic and Labour Party

That ends the period for listed questions. We now move to topical questions.

Photo of Patsy McGlone Patsy McGlone Social Democratic and Labour Party

I am sorry; we cannot take points of order now. Just so the Member knows, points of order can be taken at the end of Question Time.

Topical question 9 has been withdrawn.