Manufacturing & Supply Chain

Northern Ireland businesses urged to seize trade opportunities

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Northern Ireland businesses urged to seize trade opportunities

Northern Ireland businesses urged to seize trade opportunities
June 10
09:41 2024
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“Trade opportunities should be seized and maximised,” advised  Economy Minister, Conor Murphy when speaking at the recent launch of Invest Northern Ireland’s international trade calendar of events and trade missions. The event was attended by businesses and stakeholders.

Minister Murphy said: “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.

“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.

“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.”

The 2024/25 International Trade Calendar 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 Northern Ireland holds for trade within Europe.

Also speaking at the event was John Healy, Chair of Invest NI, commented: “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. However, we need more companies to sell outside Northern Ireland. As the Minister highlighted, 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. The team can help businesses identify the right market, find trading partners and put in place the right processes and structures to trade successfully.”

As part of the event guests heard from Invest NI’s Head of Exports, Elaine Curran, who provided an overview of the full range of support, advice and guidance provided. A number of local businesses and organisations who have benefited from Invest Northern Ireland’s support to develop their export strategy.

Claire Anderson, Head of Business Development, Mackle Snacks, Dungannon was one of several companies on a panel speaking about their export experience. Claire said: “We now export to 15 countries worldwide, and almost 50% of our sales come from international markets. Not only has exporting widened our customer base but it also gives our business greater resilience. With a wider network of customers and distributors we are better able to weather consumer and global trends.

“We’ve participated on a number of Invest NI trade missions and exhibitions, along with getting support from the in-market teams to identify potential new customers. This support has been invaluable in helping us break into new markets and grow in existing ones.”

Any business interested in exploring new markets can complete the Export Health Check at Go Further Grow Stronger | Invest Northern Ireland (


Pictured L-R are: Claire Anderson, Head of Business Development, Mackle Snacks; John Healy, Chair of Invest NI; Conor Murphy, Minister for the Economy; Elaine Curran, Head of Exports, Invest NI; and Steve Harper, Executive Director of International Investment and Skills, Invest NI.

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