BUSINESS representatives will travel to the USA and Canada next week to promote the north’s unique access to both the EU single market and UK internal market.
The Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry will partner with Dublin Chamber for the visits, which will take in both Toronto and Washington DC, where the delegation will spend St Patrick’s Day.
Ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, the trade bodies said the five-day trip will seek to refocus international attention on the island of Ireland as a place to trade with and invest in.
NI Chamber President Gillian McAuley said it will focus on economic growth and “showcasing the unique advantages of doing business here”.
“In partnership with our colleagues in Dublin Chamber, we have planned a series of high-profile engagements, where together, we’ll showcase the unique benefits of investing here thanks to barrier-free trade on the island, as well as unique access to both the GB market and the EU single market for goods from Northern Ireland.
“That unique trading position has such exciting potential – businesses want to start harnessing it and as chambers, we’re here to support their aspirations.”
The trip has a particular significance for the Chamber President, who emigrated to Canada as a young child.
“The 1998 agreement made returning home to Northern Ireland a possibility for me – it was the catalyst which saw me make the move back in 2001. As a ‘returner’ I’m passionate about this place, its people and potential.
“During the trip, we want to celebrate the positive impact that the agreement has had on business and prosperity across the UK and Ireland, whilst also recognising the specific contribution which business and political leaders in the USA and Canada have made to that. In 2023, it’s vital that as businesspeople, we keep nurturing those international relationships.
“Northern Ireland is a gateway to two of the world’s largest markets,” she continued.
“This trip is an amazing opportunity not only to profile the benefits of dual-market access to an international audience, but to share our aspirations to unlock green growth and profile why this is the ideal place for innovative companies to test new ideas.”
Meanwhile, representatives from four northern distilleries will take part in an Irish Whiskey showcase in Canada this week
Hosted by the British High Commissioner to Canada, Susannah Goshko, the visit to Ottawa on Thursday is a collaboration between Invest NI and the Irish Whiskey Association,
Among those attending will be Bushmills, Echlinville Distillery, Hinch Distillery and McConnell’s Irish Whisky, which will soon open its new distillery in Belfast’s Crumlin Road Gaol.
Speaking about the event, Michael Barton, regional trade manager for Invest NI in Canada, said: “Irish whiskey is the fastest growing premium spirit in the world, and Northern Ireland distilleries are making a significant contribution to that growth.
“Invest Northern Ireland is delighted to see a number of these distilleries exporting into the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), and on shelves across Canadian provinces for this March, which is Irish Heritage Month and St Patrick’s Day.
“With so many Canadians having Irish ancestry, it is very exciting to see Northern Ireland exports growing year-on-year in this category, providing Canadian consumers from coast to coast to coast with a great variety of choice in the Irish whiskey category.
“We at Invest Northern Ireland are delighted to work with the Irish Whiskey Association to promote the continued growth of exports from distilleries in Northern Ireland in Canada.”