FIRST Minister the Rt Hon Peter D Robinson MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA have today travelled to the United States at the start of a five day visit to strengthen business, university and political links.
The visit will start in Boston where the Ministers will deliver the keynote address at a major EU-US Connected Health conference at the invitation of the Hon. Therese Murray, President of the Massachusetts State Senate. Ministers will also meet with key executives from Fortune 500 companies based in Massachusetts and will attend a series of business meetings with existing and potential investors.
Later in the week the First Minister and the deputy First Minister will fly to Chicago where they will visit two of Northern Ireland’s most important US investors, Caterpillar and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
Speaking ahead of the visit the First Minister said: “I welcome this opportunity to visit the US following the fantastic success of the Northern Ireland Investment Conference where we welcomed over 120 potential and existing inward investors to Northern Ireland from across the globe.
“Foreign direct investment into Northern Ireland is hugely important to our economy and brings us many benefits. In the last three years alone 800 foreign investors have created 8,000 jobs here. As well as bringing these valuable new jobs, foreign investment also provides excellent benefits for our local businesses and communities.
“The Investment Conference showcased Northern Ireland’s growing reputation as a premier investment location to potential and existing inward investors. We intend to build on the legacy of the conference by fortifying the excellent relationship we already have with the US and by encouraging new companies not just to invest here but to continue to re-invest and expand.”
The deputy First Minister said: “This is our first joint visit to Boston, since the establishment of the Institutions in 2007, and it offers an opportunity to strengthen business links and develop health connections and university collaboration.
“The USA is our number one source of foreign direct investment, with 165 US-owned businesses already located here and employing almost 20,000 people in the north of Ireland.
“Recent re-investments such as Allstate, with 650 new jobs and Terumo’s 416 new jobs, demonstrate that once investors arrive here, they are impressed enough to stay and grow.
“We have a skilled workforce, with our universities and industries closely aligned to work in partnership and produce world-class graduates with the appropriate skills to meet industry needs.
“Addressing delegates at the Connected Health Conference in Boston gives us the opportunity to promote the benefits of working with the USA and Europe to develop technologies and university collaborations to improve patient care.”]]>