Trade opportunities ‘should be seized and maximised’ – Murphy

Invest NI launches international trade calendar of 21 exhibitions and 13 trade missions

Invest NI trade calendar
Economy minister Conor Murphy (centre) pictured at the Invest NI calendar launch event in Cookstown with (from left) Claire Anderson, head of business development at Mackle Snacks; Invest NI chair John Healy; and Invest NI's Elaine Curran (head of exports) and Steve Harper (executive director of international investment and skills). Picture: Andrew Towe (Parkway)

Invest NI has launched its 2024/25 international trade calendar which includes 21 exhibitions and 13 trade missions across sectors including food & drink, agri-tech, advanced engineering and materials handling, green, fintech and smart technology.

Seven exhibitions and five trade missions specifically target the European market, aiming to capitalise on the unique position the north holds for trade within Europe.

And economy minister Conor Murphy, speaking at the launch event in Cookstown, pressed this home when he told businesses and stakeholders that such opportunities to tap into a multi-trillion euro market should be ‘seized and maximised.

He said: “Dual market access means businesses in the north can now export goods to both British and European markets, free from customs declarations, rules of origin certificates, and non-tariff barriers.

“It also means that businesses can use EU inputs in their products without having to ‘import’ them. The opportunity for all-island trade is also critical to economic growth and sustainability.

“From participation in international green energy exhibitions for companies who are growing their capabilities in this area, to sector-focused visits aimed at connecting our local expertise with international buyers, these trade opportunities should be seized and maximised.”

He added: “We have a rich history as a trading and exporting region, built on our innovative and entrepreneurial spirit. Building on this, we can create more good jobs for people right across the north. We can raise our stubbornly low productivity levels, drive down our carbon emissions, and ensure that everyone benefits from an improving economic landscape here.”

Invest NI chair John Healy said: “Northern Ireland has a strong export performance and the most recent statistics from HMRC show a nearly 20% increase in the export of goods on the same period in the previous year.

“But we need more companies to sell outside Northern Ireland, and dual market access opens up a wealth of opportunities into Europe, which imports €6.5 trillion of goods annually.

“We know that selling beyond the local marketplace may seem daunting for businesses that have only traded domestically up to now. This is where trade support from Invest NI can help businesses to identify the right market, find trading partners and put in place the right processes and structures to trade successfully.”