Minister of State for Northern Ireland Steve Baker has today (8 December) visited Invest NI’s new offices in Seoul, South Korea to learn how government funding is boosting Northern Ireland’s profile in the Asia-Pacific region and helping to connect NI businesses to the world.
With £8 million funding from the New Deal for Northern Ireland, Invest NI is expanding Northern Ireland’s presence on the international stage as it supports NI businesses in new locations from Paris to Toronto, as well providing additional trade advisory support in their Belfast offices.
The new overseas roles are seeking out opportunities for potential new international investment into Northern Ireland from international companies and identifying new trade opportunities for NI companies to trade with businesses and suppliers across the globe.
The government funding has helped Invest NI establish a presence in one of the world’s largest economies for the first time, with two new staff based in South Korea.
Co-located within the Foreign Commonwealth Development Offices (FCDO) in the British Embassy in Seoul, they will be focusing on developing FDI and Trade opportunities in key sectors such as Food & Drink, Aerospace and Financial & Professional Services. The South Korean expansion brings the total number of staff in the Asia – Pacific region to 23.
Commenting after visiting Invest NI’s offices, Minister of State for Northern Ireland Steve Baker said:
Invest NI is achieving important results for the Northern Ireland economy, and I’m delighted to see government funding helping to support Northern Ireland businesses and to meet some of those who are representing Northern Ireland’s interests on the international stage.
The New Deal for Northern Ireland demonstrates the government’s commitment to the people and businesses of Northern Ireland, with the funding helping to promote business interests and creating further opportunities for growth for Northern Ireland’s economy in new locations around the world.
Northern Ireland has a wealth of skills and expertise, in areas like software development, cyber security, FinTech and manufacturing, and I’m looking forward to learning more about the opportunities for Northern Ireland in South Korea, and the wider region, over the coming days.
With New Deal funding, Invest NI has also recruited additional staff in Europe, India, Middle East and Africa and other roles in Asia-Pacific. New roles are also planned for America, helping NI businesses to compete in the global market, driving growth and strengthening the Northern Ireland economy.
Commenting on recruitment, Invest NI Executive Director of International and Skills Steve Harper said:
Our new international staff will add to our already strong expertise and networks across the world and support the growth of our economy by attracting new FDI and assisting Northern Ireland companies to access new markets and grow their exports.
I am pleased to be in Seoul and to experience first-hand the work the team are already doing here. In the latest 12 month rolling period, NI goods exports to Asia Pacific increased by 10 per cent to £849million.
I am immensely proud of the world-class capabilities that Northern Ireland offers the world and our new team in South Korea will help us to build on this success in the coming years.
South Korea is one of the largest global economies and there is much that our countries have to offer one another. I look forward to a busy schedule of engagements throughout this visit programme, focused on building relations between Northern Ireland and South Korea.
Minister Baker met with the Invest NI team, businesses, stakeholders and diaspora during his visit, taking part in a series of meetings and events aimed at promoting Northern Ireland trade and investment as well as fostering bilateral relationships in South Korea and the wider region including exploring the strong ties between the cities Belfast and Sejong, partners in the Innovation Twinning programme.
David Bae, Country Manager for Invest Northern Ireland Seoul office said:
I am pleased to join Invest NI as it establishes a presence in South Korea for the first time.
We are already working with Northern Ireland companies and assisting them to research the Korean market, offering advice and guidance on business opportunities and sourcing potential sales partnerships which will help them grow their exports.
Part of my role will also be to attract new foreign direct investment to Northern Ireland and I very much look forward to supporting Invest NI to achieve this.
Invest NI are expected to complete recruitment in the remainder of their locations early in the new year as it looks to increase its in-market support for Northern Ireland businesses. This global expansion project will help Invest NI promote Northern Ireland’s economic interests abroad and support Northern Ireland businesses to strengthen the Northern Ireland economy.