Northern Ireland is open for business and the UK as a whole is ready to make a success of exiting the EU, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire will say during his first official visit to the United States this week.
The Secretary of State will be in Washington for intensive meetings over two days with Obama administration representatives and political leaders. He will update US policy makers on UK Government’s priorities in Northern Ireland – political stability, economic prosperity and keeping people safe.
He will highlight the progress made on a range of issues since last November’s Fresh Start Agreement was published:
- Implementation of welfare reform legislation in Westminster;
- Royal Assent for the Northern Ireland (Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan) Act;
- Funding for shared and integrated education projects in Northern Ireland;
- Publication of a report from an independent panel on tackling paramilitary activity in local communities; and
- The restructuring of the Northern Ireland Civil Service.
The Secretary of State will also underline his commitment to making progress on addressing the legacy of Northern Ireland’s past and establishing the legacy bodies contained in the Stormont House Agreement. He continues to engage with the political parties, victims’ and survivors’ groups in order to move the process forward.
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire said:
My overriding message to Washington is Northern Ireland is open for business and we will make the most of the opportunities ahead.
The UK has voted to leave the European Union and we are determined to build on our strengths as an open, dynamic, trading nation to forge a new global role.
The enduring friendship and close economic ties between the United Kingdom and the United States is a solid platform for Northern Ireland firms wanting to do business here. Exports from Northern Ireland to the US were up by 73.9 per cent in the last year to £1.5 billion. Imports from the US are also up by 3.9 per cent.
This is good news and I will be doing everything possible, along with Executive Ministers, to see this trend continue, working to ensure the political stability that will lead to an even brighter future for Northern Ireland.
During a roundtable on Thursday with US business leaders Mr Brokenshire will highlight the expertise and capabilities of Northern Ireland firms whose endeavours have contributed to the £1.5 billion figure published this week. He will also reinforce the strong arguments made by Northern Ireland Executive Ministers for inward investment to Northern Ireland by US firms – a highly educated workforce, world class technology talent and institutions and pedigree in advanced engineering and manufacturing.