Invest Northern Ireland is setting up a presence in Chile to support Northern Ireland businesses to grow exports across South America.
The announcement came as Invest NI Chief Executive Alastair Hamilton completed a five day visit programme to South America, visiting Colombia and Chile. Mr Hamilton was supporting NI businesses on a Trade Mission to Colombia, Peru and Chile.
Mr Hamilton said: “As part of the International Trade Plan announced by Minister Hamilton, Invest NI is expanding its overseas network in up to 10 new locations around the world.
“This commitment to appoint a Regional Manager to be based in Chile is the first of these expansions. The new role will be based in the British Embassy and will work proactively with, and provide advice to, Northern Ireland companies to help them grow exports in South America.
“As well as building a strong network of stakeholders and influencers to benefit trade development, the new role will also work to identify potential investors. It will also support our schools, Further Education colleges and universities to attract more students to study in Northern Ireland, whilst also helping companies operating in the education technology sector to grow their exports.”
During his visit programme Alastair met with government bodies including ProColombia and ProChile, Invest in Bogota and InvestChile, the Colombian Minister of Finance and Public Credit, Minister Cardenas, and Minister of Commerce, Industry & Tourism, Minister Lacouture. Alastair also met with business bodies and companies to develop potential trade links, as well as supporting companies on the Trade Mission by attending commercial meetings with potential export partners.
“UK exports to Latin America are currently worth approximately £4.5bn, with NI accounting for £85m of this largely through advanced manufacturing, material handling and medical exports”, continued Alastair.
“While we have seen fluctuations over the years, in 2015/16 we saw our exports to Colombia increase by 60 per cent to £10.4 million, and Chile by nearly 5 per cent to £12.6m. We are confident there are opportunities here for Northern Ireland companies and my visit this week is to strengthen and build relationships to support them to do business here. With our new Regional Manager we will also be able to provide that additional guidance and knowledge needed to help businesses succeed in this market.”