North's ministers court corporate America

Corporate America was urged today to follow the lead of the New York Stock Exchange and invest in the North.

Corporate America was urged today to follow the lead of the New York Stock Exchange and invest in the North.

Stormont First and Deputy Ministers Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness made the call as they visited the trading floor of the Exchange on the latest leg on their four-day visit to the US.

The owners of the stock exchange recently invested a further £3m (€3.5m) in their Wombat Financial software company in Belfast, creating up to 100 jobs.

The Democratic Unionist and Sinn Féin ministers said the exchange had proved that a move to the North made financial sense.

“The NYSE has invested heavily in Northern Ireland and clearly remains committed to its highly successful Belfast operation,” said Mr Robinson.

“Their investment is a shining example of what can be achieved in Northern Ireland.”

Mr McGuinness said: “The New York Stock Exchange’s presence at home sends out a clear and strong message. If the most famous stock exchange in the world can see the potential opportunities we have to offer, then others will surely follow.“

The ministers were given a tour of the exchange by its chief executive officer Duncan Niederauer.

Their visit comes on the back of yesterday’s meeting with US President George W Bush in Washington.

During the discussions at the White House, the outgoing president congratulated both men on the role they played in establishing power-sharing government at Stormont.

Their trip is a high profile follow-up to the Northern Ireland-US Investment conference which drew scores of US business leaders to Belfast in May.

This week the ministers are again courting corporate America to try to sell Northern Ireland as a good investment prospect, despite the global downturn.

During a gala dinner in New York last night they also met mayor Michael Bloomberg and Belfast-born Hollywood actress Geraldine Hughes.

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