U.S. Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland, Declan Kelly, has confirmed that over a dozen U.S.-based companies, including several leading names from the Fortune 500, attended a series of detailed briefings in New York today with Minister Arlene Foster, executives from Invest Northern Ireland, and Kelly himself, on the merits of considering Northern Ireland for future potential inward investment.

The attendees included nine public companies with an aggregate market capitalization in excess of $575 billion and revenues of more than $200 billion. The U.S. companies represented a variety of business sectors including Financial Services, Information and Communications Technology, Connected Health, and Life Sciences, reflecting the areas of strategic focus of Invest Northern Ireland as part of its ongoing inward investment program. 

Also present for the event were several members of the U.S. special working group that Envoy Kelly established shortly after his appointment on September 11, 2009.

The working group is made up of several business leaders drawn from right across the spectrum of industry in America, and works alongside a corresponding group which has been set up in Northern Ireland to work with Mr. Kelly and his office.

Economic Envoy Kelly said, “I am very encouraged by today’s meetings and I am glad that we have been able to take this important step in relatively short order.  This marks a significant milestone in building long term and sustainable relationships with some of the most admired companies in the world today.  I am very hopeful that in several instances the dialogue with these companies will continue in the weeks and months ahead.

“Today’s meetings represent several weeks of hard work on the part of the members of the U.S. Working Group, who have been operating hand in hand with myself, the senior leadership at Invest Northern Ireland, and Minister Foster along with her colleagues in the Northern Ireland Administration.  The class of companies which attended the briefing session today is an indication of the high level of interest in what Northern Ireland has to offer at present.

“I was particularly pleased that Minister Arlene Foster was able to travel from Northern Ireland to meet with the individual companies in person. I want to thank her for demonstrating an unwavering dedication to our partnership and combined mission. 

“The Minister and the entire team at Invest NI are doing an excellent job in furthering Northern Ireland’s business case as a world class location for investment.  I am also grateful to the many members of the US working group who were able to participate in this week’s meetings, again illustrating their level of commitment to our overall objective.

“Initiatives like this, aimed at fostering long term links and relationships with many of the world’s most successful companies, will continue in the weeks and months ahead as part of a broader program of activity that will seek to not only promote trade and investment between the US and Northern Ireland, but also place an increasing spotlight on the many reasons to select Northern Ireland as a location for inward investment,” concluded Mr. Kelly.