Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Northern Ireland Office this morning hosted a private breakfast meeting with Sir Peter Westmacott, British Ambassador to the USA.
The breakfast, held in the offices of Allstate NI, was part of the British Ambassador's visit to Northern Ireland ahead of the G8 Summit and was attended by 20 local business leaders who either trade with or have potential to trade with the USA.
Speaking at the event, the British Ambassador to the USA stated:
"Northern Ireland has some world beating companies and it's a great place to do business. That's a message we'll be reinforcing in a few weeks' time when the Prime Minister brings together some of the world's most powerful leaders at the G8 Summit in Fermanagh which offers global branding that money simply could not buy.
Supporting the UK's economy is at the heart of what the Foreign & Commonwealth Office does. Our team has unique skills, specialised knowledge and a wide range of contacts and we want to use our global network to support businesses in Northern Ireland to succeed overseas. I therefore want to hear from Northern Ireland companies how we can all work together to deepen and widen the economic relationship between the US and Northern Ireland.
Just a few weeks ago I hosted the Prime Minister, who was in the US to promote trade, investment and innovation in the UK. He promoted the GREAT campaign by travelling with HRH Prince Harry in the New Bus for London, manufactured by Wrightbus in Ballymena and Antrim, with Invest NI backing.
When I return to Washington I'll continue to give the clear and unequivocal message that Northern Ireland today is a great place to visit, study and work and a great place to invest and trade with."
Speaking after the event, Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce Programmes Director, Sandra Scannell, said,
"The United States is the second most important market for Northern Ireland (after the EU) and in 2012 over £500m of goods and services was exported from here to the US.
However despite the importance of the US as an export destination, Northern Ireland has one of the lowest shares of non-EU trade across the UK regions which Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce is keen to address.
Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and its members therefore welcomed the opportunity to meet with the British Ambassador to the USA and discuss the trading and investment relationship between the US and the UK, one of the largest and most important in the world, and discuss further opportunities."
Sir Peter Westmacott represents Her Majesty The Queen and the UK government in the USA. He is responsible for the direction and work of the Embassy and its Consulates, including political work, trade and investment, press and cultural relations, and visa and consular services.