By Max Clarke

Minister for Trade and Investment Lord Green begins a visit to Northern Ireland today to meet with two leading investors, Bombardier and Citigroup, who between them employ 6,400 people.

Northern Ireland punches above its weight in terms of attracting foreign direct investment (FDI). In the last three years, it has won seven per cent of the UK’s FDI, with only 2.8 per cent of the population, and Belfast has been named as the second most attractive UK city for attracting FDI.

“Growth and job creation are central to the Government’s economic recovery plans" said Lord Green.

"The UK’s inward investors are major drivers of both, and generated 94,000 jobs last year. Now more than ever, it is crucial that the UK raises its game to increase its share of global investment.

“Over the past five years, Northern Ireland has attracted more than 220 inward investment projects which have generated nearly 21,500 local jobs.

“I am delighted to visit Bombardier and Citigroup. The UK has the biggest financial services sector in Europe while the UK aerospace sector is second in the world. It is an important part of the UK’s advanced manufacturing sector, exporting around 70 per cent of what it makes.”

Vice President and General Manager of Bombardier Aerospace Belfast Michael Ryan said:

“Over the past 20 years, Bombardier has invested more than £1.4 billion in our Northern Ireland operations, which has provided high value-added jobs and developed our capabilities in key aerospace technologies.
“Bombardier’s investment of more than £500 million to enable us to develop and produce the advanced composite wings for the new CSeries aircraft is the largest ever single inward investment in Northern Ireland.
“We are delighted that the CSeries aircraft programme is also benefiting the UK aerospace supply chain and helping to cement the UK’s wider strategic interests in aircraft wing technology.”

Managing Director, Citigroup Brian McAreavey said:

“Citigroup has established and consolidated its presence in Belfast over the past six years. It has developed into one of a small number of Centres of Excellence for our Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) operations.

“Belfast is an ideal location for our EMEA operations, due to the talent pool and availability of skills, time zone, quality infrastructure and competitive operating costs.”

This week’s visit to Northern Ireland is part of a series of regional visits by Lord Green to support UK exporters and investors. Lord Green will also meet local business leaders and visit the Belfast Harbour Commission to learn about developments in the renewable energy market.

Factfile — Northern Ireland
• According to Ernst and Young, Belfast is ranked as the UK’s second most attractive city (after London) for FDI, particularly in the technology and financial services sectors.
• Over the past five years, Northern Ireland has attracted more than 220 inward investment projects generating nearly 21,500 jobs.
• In the last three years, Northern Ireland has won 7% of FDI attracted to the UK, with only 2.8% of the population.
• Nearly 70% of investors in Northern Ireland have already reinvested, or are planning to do so in the future.
• Key investors in Northern Ireland include Seagate Technology, Fujitsu, Microsoft, Caterpillar and Halifax.
• The financial services sector employs over 23,000 people in more than 1,200 companies.
• ICT employs more than 15,000 people in more than 700 companies.
• Business services sectors employs more than 14,000 people in c.40 companies.