Northern Ireland news

NI Secretary to meet with business and political leaders during US trip

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris will leave on Sunday for a five-day visit to the US (Brian Lawless/PA)
Jonathan McCambridge, PA

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris will meet political and business stakeholders during a visit to the US.

Mr Heaton-Harris is leaving on Sunday for the five-day trip to Washington, Boston and New York during which he will also attempt to drum up investment opportunities for Northern Ireland.

He will meet with representatives from the State Department, the National Security Council, members of congress, business and trade organisations and councils and the Ad Hoc Committee to Protect the Good Friday Agreement as part of US-UK engagement on Northern Ireland issues.

He will also use the opportunity to highlight his efforts to break the political stalemate at Stormont and focus on the upcoming 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, which will be marked by celebrations on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Northern Ireland Secretary will meet with the new US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland for Economic Affairs Joe Kennedy III.

They will discuss the upcoming Trade and Investment event in Northern Ireland, announced in the autumn statement, and further opportunities to showcase the region's high-tech business environment.

Before departing for Washington, Mr Heaton-Harris said: “I am excited to meet US stakeholders in person for the first time as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

“The US has been pivotal in supporting Northern Ireland. I greatly value our partnership and look forward to deepening our collaboration, especially in areas of trade and investment.

“Through a busy agenda of meetings with business and government representatives, I will raise awareness of Northern Ireland's offering as a great place to live, work and do business and encourage continued trade and investment opportunities from the US.”

He added: “As the 25th anniversary of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement approaches, I look forward to discussing with US stakeholders the UK Government's plans to mark this significant milestone.

“The US and UK share a commitment to upholding the Agreement and continuing to transform Northern Ireland for the better.”