Foster and Lidington encourage local companies to do business in Europe

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster is pictured with Minister for Europe, Rt Hon David Lidington MP at a round table event in Belfast, held in association with NI Chamber of Commerce, where local businesses had the opportunity to discuss levels of exports to Europe and any issues or barriers they currently face.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and Rt Hon David Lidington MP have met with members of the Northern Ireland business community to discuss the challenges of doing business in Europe.

Representatives from a wide range of local businesses who are either already doing or hoping to do business in Europe, discussed the challenges and frustrations they face when operating across the European region.

Arlene Foster said: “Europe remains a key trading partner for Northern Ireland businesses. Export sales from here to Europe amounted to £600million in 2010 and this source of international trade is crucial to the continued growth of our local economy.

“Many local companies have been doing significant business in Europe for several years and our success stories cover a very broad range of industries from engineering to IT, synthetic fibres to pharmaceuticals, and food and drink.

“To assist local companies in their export endeavours, it is vital that we continue to engage with stakeholders across the EU to reduce or overcome barriers and challenges to trade including, payment regimes, differing product certifications and legislation across EU countries. We also need to lobby for the acceptance of sector specific NI qualifications in all European markets.

Arlene Foster concluded by encouraging local firms to seek global business opportunities. She said: “Local companies need to recognise that additional growth can be achieved by targeting opportunities in export markets. This is key to improving the economic growth prospects of Northern Ireland.

“My department and Invest Northern Ireland are committed to supporting local companies who want to exploit the many emerging opportunities arising across Europe.”