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Fall trade conference for D.C.

The announcement followed discussions held at the State Department last week between Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson, Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, North Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster and Kelly.

The one day conference, will be, according to a statement, "a highly targeted initiative aimed at bringing together the leaders of some of the largest international companies already operating in Northern Ireland with potential investors and other partners."

A date for the event, which will be hosted by Secretary Clinton, will be finalized in the near future. The hosting of an economic conference dedicated to promoting investment in Northern Ireland and trade between that region and the United States further underlines Secretary Clinton's belief that economic investment is the best means to build on the political progress that has been made in Northern Ireland in recent weeks and months, the statement added.

The North has attracted more than 800 new jobs in the last six months from international companies, including last week's announcement by Massachusetts-based Q1 Labs to create up to 50 new jobs in software services in Belfast, it continued.

""This investment conference is yet another indication of Secretary Clinton's commitment to building on the peace process in Northern

Ireland and further underlines the U.S. government's support for the immense progress that has been made in the region in the past several

months", said Envoy Kelly.

"We stated repeatedly in the last several months that if stability could be guaranteed in terms of the political institutions in Northern Ireland through the successful completion of negotiations on the devolution of policing and justice, then a great opportunity would

exist for the region to move forward quickly with a range of initiatives in the area of economic investment.

"This conference is the latest in a series of initiatives we have undertaken as part of this mission to shine a light on northern

Ireland and all it has to offer as a superb location for foreign direct investment," he said.

Kelly pointed to a trade mission with representatives of over a dozen companies visiting the U.S. during St. Patrick's week. They were in the U.S. he said, to showcase what they have to offer to potential investors and partners in the United States.

"Events are taking place in three cities in four days and the world's attention is focused in a positive way on Northern Ireland this St. Patrick's day because of all that has been achieved in recent weeks to help move the political institutions forward," Kelly said.

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