Northern Ireland open for business and investment ready

19 March 2024

Northern Ireland open for business and investment ready

Glyn Roberts (Retail NI), Richard Hogg (Manufacturing NI) & Stephen Magorrian (Hospitality Ulster)

Trade NI - the alliance of Retail NI, Manufacturing NI and Hospitality Ulster - told a high-powered audience of US business leaders and politicians that Northern Ireland is ready for new investment as it pitched its pathway for greater economic prosperity in the region.

The call comes as the alliance hosted one of the largest and most influential business events ever to focus on the Northern Ireland economy at the National Press Club in Washington DC today.

The Trade NI led gathering welcomed over 120 guests from the business community on both sides of the Atlantic with speakers including Conor Murphy, Minister for the Economy, Joe Kennedy III, US Special Envoy to NI for Economic Affairs and Chris Heaton Harris, the Northern Ireland Secretary of State.

Speaking jointly, the leadership of Trade NI, Stephen Kelly, Manufacturing NI, Glyn Roberts, Retail NI and Joel Neill, Hospitality Ulster said: 

“This event is about contributing, in a meaningful way, to the collective drive for greater economic growth and prosperity for Northern Ireland. To create economic success you need the right conditions locally, but you also need to go out into the world and find and attract those in the business community who are willing to invest in our region and our people.”

“Renewed stability in our devolved institutions has given everyone a much needed confidence boost and has reinvigorated attention on Northern Ireland as an exciting economic zone which benefits from dual access to the EU and GB markets and a favourable investment community in the USA.” 

“This is the right time to set out our stall to those here in the US who have supported us all in Northern Ireland for so long, not just through the peace process but in creating economic prosperity before and after the signing of the Belfast / Good Friday Agreement. Our message is clear - Northern Ireland is a great place to live, work and do business, and we have huge economic potential that we want our American friends to help us fulfil.”

They added:“The warm reception we have had from the US business leaders and decision makers here today has been so encouraging. We know that the work done today alone won’t bear fruit overnight, but we are thrilled to be able to play our part in setting out our stall for greater economic development and expect many new conversations to be opened.” 

Economy Minister, Conor Murphy MLA said:  

“Today’s Trade NI reception has ensured that the North secured a significant presence in Washington DC this week. The US is our most important inward investor, outside of Europe it is our largest trading partner and increasing numbers of US visitors are enjoying our retail, tourism, and hospitality offer.”   

“Today has given us the opportunity to increase investment, trade, and tourism. We share a language, a large diaspora, and a skilled workforce. Hundreds of US firms have successfully made us their home on the other side of the Atlantic and now, with our unique dual market access, we are the perfect location for US firms to expand their businesses.” 

“We will be following up on new connections made which will strengthen our economic bonds as we create good, regionally dispersed jobs, increase productivity, and meet our shared net zero challenge”.

Kieran Donoghue, Chief Executive, Invest NI said:

"Northern Ireland has vast untapped potential. We have a skilled workforce, a steady pipeline of talent from our higher and further education institutions, dual market access, and high performing industry clusters like tech, cyber security, and health and life sciences. But there is so much more we can achieve."

"This industry led event builds upon and directly supports the work my team are doing in the US.

Thank you to the Trade NI alliance for pushing forward this initiative and providing a platform to tell potential investors, first hand, just how good Northern Ireland is to start and scale up a business or as a location for international expansion."

Gareth Planck, Partner, Eversheds Sutherland said:

“This is such a timely event as the restoration of the Executive has created renewed confidence in Northern Ireland generally. The business and investment community in the US are sharpening their focus on the region as an economically exciting location.” 

“The size and impact of this event proves that there is interest in Northern Ireland and a spirt of optimism that many have not felt for some time. We are ready to support new US based FDI through our global network and local offices in Belfast and Dublin as we collectively place fresh emphasis on economic prosperity for the benefit of Northern Ireland.” 

Brian Murphy, Managing Partner, BDO Northern Ireland said:

“We are very proud to support Trade NI in its work in Belfast, Dublin, London and now in the US. A vibrant, growing private sector is vital if we are to ensure a strong future for Northern Ireland’s economy and communities. Northern Ireland is a region transformed over the past two decades creating prosperity for all. It’s now time to super charge that effort.”

There is a lot of global goodwill for our region and continued attraction of those who can influence the future growth of our economy is so important. We must harness the opportunity in front of us, ensuring a path is set that will allow us to be the best we can be over the next 5 to 10 years to gain a more fruitful prosperity dividend.”