North's top business chiefs to attend Washington investment conference

Up to 20 top business executives will attend the Northern Ireland economic investment conference in Washington DC, it was revealed today.

Head of the New York Stock Exchange Euronext company Duncan Niederauer is among those who may take part in the one-day meeting on October 19.

Employment Minister Reg Empey is in New York for talks with business leaders and said he was looking forward to next month's showcase.

"There will be a small number of key chief executive officers invited, somewhere between 15-20 top CEOs," he said.

"It is not going to be a massive circus."

The key objective will be to allow very senior executives from American companies to hear why an investment in Northern Ireland makes sound commercial sense.

First Minister Peter Robinson, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster and Empey will be attending.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US economic envoy to the North Declan Kelly will host the event.

A spokesman for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister added: "It is aimed at very senior executives from approximately a dozen American companies that have not yet made investments here.

"They will join an equally small number of chief executive officers and senior representatives from existing American investors. This latter group will talk about their own positive experience of setting up their business operations here."

Last week it was announced that an outpost of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) will open in Belfast.

NYSE Technologies is the technology arm of NYSE Euronext, a leading global operator of financial markets and provider of innovative trading technologies.

Empey added: "Next month we will have the opportunity to press home the Northern Ireland case very firmly. It is a wonderful opportunity for us.

"You do sometimes get hard results out of it and the NYSE opening last week is an example of that."

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