Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council embarked on one of its most ambitious export trade missions this week.
Leading a delegation of 15 small and medium-sized companies keen to explore new exporting opportunities in the US, Council representatives are visiting a range of organisations to promote the wider borough and its growing international credentials in business, tourism, construction, creative industries, food and drink.
A senior civic delegation is attending more than a dozen meetings, events and appointments led by Lord Mayor, Alderman Gareth Wilson and councillor Joe Nelson, Chair of the Economic Development and Regeneration Committee, as part of the four-day mission in Chicago, which is focused on growing trade, investment and tourism opportunities and on highlighting the borough’s economic priorities and development.
Lord Mayor Alderman Gareth Wilson said: “As well as economic ties, we have long and established cultural and historic links with the United States and I’m honoured to be directly supporting a focused and ambitious team which is committed to expanding their market opportunities in North America and to supporting relationships already formed with companies and organisations already operating here.”
“Building and establishing those relationships and seeking new partnerships is very much part of this valuable opportunity to engage our partners directly and by highlighting our commitment to business, innovation, trade and our strategic position as a gateway for growth.”
Companies taking part in the US trade mission include White’s Oats, Harnett Oils, Long Meadow Cider, SDG Construction, Evron Foods and artisan baker New Found Joy.
Mr Wilson added: “It is this Council’s number one priority to grow our local economy and a key component of this is to drive export sales to global markets and we are committed to taking a direct and proactive approach to supporting business growth and we are delighted that so many businesses are on board.
“I’m thrilled by the progress made and by the warm welcome and interest which business and civic leaders have demonstrated and I look forward to developing opportunities and working together much more closely in the future.”
The programme is being directly supported by key partners Invest Northern Ireland in Chicago and by the Northern Ireland Bureau, based in Washington, both of which have assisted in facilitating the trade and civic mission and in cultivating and strengthening links and ties in North America.
The ‘Go West’ export programme follows last year’s successful ‘Go East’ trade mission to India and the Council’s ‘Export to GB’ programme, which between them is already helping more than 30 local companies develop new trade opportunities.