“Building on the business relationships already established by Invest Northern Ireland, I am determined to raise the profile of Northern Ireland as an investment opportunity for U.S. companies and engage the support of senior business leaders and influencers,” said Foster.
“This visit will give me an opportunity to brief political and business leaders about the Executive’s plans to drive economic growth in Northern Ireland and to outline our advantages as an ideal springboard for American companies seeking growth in Europe and beyond,” said Foster.
Foster said she also wanted to encourage more American visitors to Northern Ireland and lending her support to Tourism Ireland, which is working towards an increase in American visitors to Ireland in 2010.
During her three day visit, Minister Foster met with Declan Kelly, the U.S. special economic envoy to Northern Ireland.
Kelly, in a statement, confirmed that over a dozen US-based companies, including several leading names from the Fortune 500, attended a series of detailed briefings in New York with Foster, executives from Invest Northern Ireland, and himself.
The attendees, he said, included nine public companies with an aggregate market capitalization in excess of $575 billion and revenues of more than $200 billion.
Also present for the briefings were several members of the U.S. special working group that Kelly established shortly after his appointment by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to the envoy post in September.
The working group is made up of U.S. business leaders and works alongside a corresponding group in Northern Ireland that works with Kelly’s office.
“I am very encouraged by today’s meetings and I am glad that we have been able to take this important step in relatively short order. This marks a significant milestone in building long term and sustainable relationships with some of the most admired companies in the world,” said Kelly.
He added that he was particularly pleased that Minister Foster was able to meet with the individual companies in person.
“I want to thank her for demonstrating an unwavering dedication to our partnership and combined mission. Initiatives like this will continue in the weeks and months ahead as part of a broader program of activity that will seek to not only promote trade and investment between the U.S. and Northern Ireland, but also place an increasing spotlight on the many reasons to select Northern Ireland as a location for inward investment,” said Kelly.