Trade delegation visits East Antrim

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A JAPANESE trade delegation visited two businesses in East Antrim last week to see how firms from their country contribute to the Northern Ireland economy.

Led by ambassador Keiichi Hayashi, the potential investors also saw facilities at Lough Erne in advance of this summer’s G8 summit.

East Antrim DUP MLA Alastair Ross, who is private secretary to Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment Arlene Foster, greeted the group and accompanied them to both Ryobi in Carrickfergus and Terumo (formerly Ivex) in Larne.

“It was pleasing, at a time when Northern Ireland is getting a bad press in the media, to be part of a positive visit by a group from Japan,” said Mr Ross.

He added: “I look forward to the positive outcomes of our meetings and the trip as a whole and I trust that it sends a message that Northern Ireland is confident that global business links will continue to flourish.”

Invest Northern Ireland also has welcomed the two-day trip, hoping for a boost in trade, inward investment and tourism links.

Chief executive Alastair Hamilton said: “Securing inward investment and boosting trade opportunities remains a key priority and in the current difficult economic climate it is essential that we continue to highlight the strengths of the Northern Ireland offering.

“Since April, 2011, 65 inward investment projects have been secured for this region by Invest NI, promoting over 2,700 jobs and delivering over £74.5 million in gross salaries to the economy.

“Moving forward, there remains significant potential to secure additional investment, as well as grow export opportunities in key markets like Japan.

“The G8 summit will allow us an opportunity to further develop such international relationships.”