Trade NI, the alliance of the three largest trade bodies, Retail NI, Manufacturing NI and Hospitality Ulster, has hosted a significant Northern Ireland showcase event in Westminster today to over 200 guests who were addressed by the Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer.
The event highlighted why Northern Ireland is the ideal location to live in, invest in and do business in.
The pitch brought forward by Trade NI, and hosted by Northern Ireland Minister for State Conor Burns MP, heard why Northern Ireland is uniquely placed and presents a whole host of economic and investment opportunities.
Trade NI says that any incoming Northern Ireland Executive must set out to increase the productivity of the NI workforce; reduce the regulatory burden on businesses; increase the skills base; and deliver a clear economic strategy for Northern Ireland.
The event was sponsored by Heathrow Airport, DWF Law and Queen’s University Belfast.
In a joint statement, the representatives of Trade NI, Colin Neill (Hospitality Ulster), Stephen Kelly (Manufacturing NI) and Glyn Roberts (Retail NI) said:
“The past two years have been monumental for the business community as we have battled the pandemic, changes due to the Protocol and the collapse of the Executive once again. We hope that the reception hosted on the Terrace of the House of Commons will be a wake-up call for politicians and UK business leaders that Northern Ireland is here and open to do business.
“The reception is a showcase on why this region is primed for new opportunities to grow and prosper. We have some of the best talent, best environment and best products available on the global stage, and now is the time for this to be recognised and properly activated on an international scale.
“In 2019, we held an NI business reception that brought together the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Lords, Ministers and key political influencers in Westminster to bring focus to Northern Ireland issues. This was a great opportunity to be able to discuss the key concerns of the business community with national political decision makers and help them understand the priorities needed for Northern Ireland, and to promote Northern Ireland as a great place in the United Kingdom to locate or start a business.”
“The event this year further developed these crucial links and reminded politicians and the wider business community of Northern Ireland’s capability as a central cog in the wider economic output of the UK.”
Minister of State for Northern Ireland Conor Burns MP said:
“I’m delighted to sponsor this event in the Houses of Parliament, bringing together businesses, councils and key sectors from across Northern Ireland.
“Northern Ireland has so much to offer to the rest of the world, and the UK Government is committed to supporting this economic development and shining a light on its potential as a fantastic place to live, work and do business.”
Nigel Milton, Chief of Staff at Heathrow said:
“Heathrow is thrilled that we can once again support Trade NI. The mission of the Northern Ireland reception echoes Heathrow’s commitment to connect Northern Ireland to global growth and to share the benefits of an expanded Heathrow with the businesses and communities of Northern Ireland.”
Julie Galbraith, Executive Partner of DWF in Belfast, said:
“DWF is proud to back Trade NI, who are leading the way in engaging and focusing Westminster politicians on the importance of Northern Ireland and its evolving business landscape. The region has a strong business community and should be considered across the United Kingdom as a thriving business hub for the global market.”
Professor Ian Greer, President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast said:
“Queen’s are pleased to support Trade NI who undertake excellent work in representing the local businesses sector across Northern Ireland. Trade NI is an excellent example of partnership and collaboration with three leading business bodies, Retail NI, Manufacturing NI, Hospitality Ulster working together to strengthen the voice of Northern Ireland regionally, national and globally. Building on this with even greater collaboration and partnership throughout both the civic and business sectors will deliver real impact for our region.”