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Kelly holds out investment plum

The agreement, said Kelly, was another important step forward by Northern Ireland, its government and its people.

"It is a moment where the world can see yet again that through the co-operation and partnership of all political parties and communities of interest, Northern Ireland is taking a firm hand in shaping its own future," he said.

"From a business standpoint this agreement sends a clear message to investors all over the world, including potential investors from the United States, that Northern Ireland continues to make tremendous progress in becoming one of the most attractive in the world for inward investment and economic development.

"This agreement is only a beginning, however, and implementation will be vitally important. In the weeks and months ahead we will work with the political leaders, Invest Northern Ireland and the members of the two working groups established to support my office, to underline the importance of today's agreement in the context of the long term opportunities that exist for doing business with and in Northern Ireland," Kelly said.

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