Hillary Clinton to oversee investment conference

The US government today confirmed plans to host a major investment conference focussed on the North.

The US-NI Economic Conference will be held on October 19, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton overseeing the event at the State Department in Washington DC.

Political leaders had already made a commitment to holding the conference, but today’s announcement fixed a date for the one-day event and confirmed that it will bring together leading executives considering investment in the North, and US companies who already operate in the region.

Declan Kelly, US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland, said First Minister Peter Robinson, deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, and senior economic officials will also take part in the event.

Mr Kelly added: “The economic conference provides a unique forum to showcase all that Northern Ireland offers to a selective, highly targeted group of companies.

“The potential investors at the conference will have the opportunity to hear the business case for investing in Northern Ireland from the best possible advocates, namely those companies that have already invested in the region.”

Mr Kelly’s efforts to encourage investment is part of the US administration’s support for the peace process, but American officials have also argued that successful investment schemes will benefit businesses and create jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.

The envoy liaises with specially appointed US and Northern Ireland Working Groups, which include expert economic and business advisers, who support his investment efforts.

Members of the working groups are also set to attend the conference.

The emergence of the new power-sharing administration at Stormont led by the DUP and Sinn Féin led to a major US investment conference in the North in May 2008.

The then First Minister Ian Paisley and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness played host to more than 100 executives from American companies.

Mr Paisley and Mr McGuinness travelled to the US to attract investment and since Peter Robinson took on the role of First Minister, he too has joined Mr McGuinness in courting American big business.

In March, the US authorities confirmed that Mrs Clinton had offered to host an investment conference in Washington.


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