The Windsor Framework secures Northern Ireland’s unique economic opportunity which must be grasped, the head of Manufacturing NI has said.

Speaking at the launch of Manufacturing Month 2023 at Hinch Distillery today, Manufacturing NI Chief Executive Stephen Kelly said the new deal struck between the UK and the EU provides, if properly maximised, the basis to bring prosperity and economic growth across Northern Ireland.

Manufacturing Month 2023 was officially launched at today’s event, the major annual initiative which celebrates our local manufacturing and engineering firms. The month is backed by some of Northern Ireland’s leading companies and organisations including Atradius, Barclays, CPL, InterTradeIreland, Invest Northern Ireland, KPMG, Lockton, and Mills Selig.

Led by representative body Manufacturing Northern Ireland, the entire month of May is dedicated to highlighting the companies, workers, and leaders who make the Northern Irish manufacturing sector the global success story it is. The month includes a busy programme of events, webinars, content from the sector, the flagship ‘Anchor High’ leadership summit, and the Manufacturing Hall of Fame dinner in the Guildhall in Derry on 31 May.

Today’s launch event brought together business leaders, politicians, manufacturers, and educators from across Northern Ireland. Sponsored by OCO Global, ‘Welcome to the World’s Most Exciting Economic Zone?’ was trade and investment focused and explored the potential offered by the Windsor Framework and the country’s economic transformation since the signing of the Belfast / Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

Speaking at the Manufacturing Month launch event today at Hinch Distillery, Manufacturing NI Chief Executive Stephen Kelly said:

“In recent weeks we have had Prime Ministers and Presidents travel to Northern Ireland, accompanied by the world’s media, promoting the globally unique trade and investment opportunity which the Windsor Framework secures.

“We all share an ambition to make this a prosperous place and more prosperous people, so it is crucial that our political, policy and business leaders take this opportunity and fully maximise the benefits of dual-market access.  Our manufacturers are already proving that this opportunity is real by securing record exports, driving prosperity and economic growth for our businesses, our workforce, and for communities across in Northern Ireland.

“This Manufacturing Month, we are demonstrating the unique role that our manufacturers perform in solving problems for customers across the globe whilst delivering more and better jobs in every city, town and townland here at home.”

Gareth Hagan, CEO of OCO Global, also added:

“Research by OCO Global has proven the economic boost that has been delivered since the Good Friday Agreement for Northern Ireland. It’s undeniable that peace has brought increased investment, more jobs, a huge boost to industries like tourism and hospitality, and made our country a much more attractive place to live, work, invest, and do business.

“Dual-market access is the next piece of the puzzle for Northern Ireland. If we can successfully maximise this unique position we find ourselves in, the evidence is there that says we can grow our economy by up to 50%, create over 30,000 new jobs, and welcome millions more visitors every year. Our manufacturing and engineering sector is one of the most likely to benefit from this dual-market access also, trading their goods all around the globe and attracting new foreign investment. We were delighted to support today’s event and set the scene for the month ahead, providing a positive and optimistic view of the potential benefits of the new Windsor Framework.”

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