Economy Minister Simon Hamilton MLA has launched a Trade Accelerator Plan.
The aim of the plan is to further boost exports by locally based businesses and to expand the number of companies trading outside of Northern Ireland.
Launching the Trade Accelerator Plan at an “Opportunity Egypt” event hosted by Invest Northern Ireland and chaired by Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, MP, at Stormont, Simon Hamilton said: “Northern Ireland is fortunate to have some fantastic companies across all sectors producing goods and services that can compete with businesses anywhere in the world.
Figures released this week show that over the last 12 months, Northern Ireland was the only part of the United Kingdom to see an increase in exports. I want us to build on the success of this latest 9.5% rise in exports and help Northern Ireland to become an increasingly outward looking, trading region.
Growing our exports is critical to growing local business and transforming Northern Ireland into a globally competitive economy. Equally, a new era is beginning for the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland must be ready to seize the opportunities it presents. That’s why I have been working closely with Invest NI to develop a Trade Accelerator Plan that further boosts our export capabilities and perfectly places Northern Ireland for the years ahead.”
The Trade Accelerator Plan includes a range of enhanced support for existing and first time exporters including:
- Enhanced support for Export Market visits;
- Travel and accommodation support for SMEs in Great Britain
- Accommodation support for Republic of Ireland market
- Enhanced support for companies attending exhibitions through the SOLEX scheme;
- A new Great Britain Market Introduction programme initially for the construction sector, with a Republic of Ireland Food Retail development programme under development;
- Targeting of Great Britain based buying groups such as the NHS, utilities, agri-foods and the hospitality sector;
- Additional Meet the Buyer events and Market Study visits in sectors and markets where businesses have identified opportunities;
- An increase from 20 days to 30 days in the amount of in-market Trade Advisory support; and
- New guides and case studies on www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk an
The Minister concluded: “Today’s ‘Opportunity Egypt’ event is the perfect example of how we are looking at new markets. Having Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP as the UK’s Trade Envoy to Egypt is excellent news for Northern Ireland business. I want us to look at existing markets and new ones as huge opportunities for Northern Ireland. We are already doing exceptionally well at exporting our goods and services but I believe we can do even better. In the months ahead we will be confidently looking outwards to the opportunities of global trade with the objective of accelerating and expanding our exports and boosting Northern Ireland’s economy.”