PM welcomes US President Joe Biden to Northern Ireland

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The Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, accompanied by The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Chris Heaton-Harris and The Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim David McCorkell, welcomes the US President Joe Biden to Northern Ireland. Flying Station Aldergrove. Picture by Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Street

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak welcomed US President Joe Biden to Northern Ireland on Tuesday evening as the UK prepares to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.

President Biden arrived in the UK on Tuesday evening, where the Prime Minister met him off Air Force One.

The US President will now undertake a programme of engagements including an official meeting with the Prime Minister.

Today (Wednesday 19th April) the Prime Minister will travel to Belfast to address Queen’s University’s ‘Agreement 25’ conference and host a special Gala Dinner to commemorate the anniversary.

Monday marked a quarter of a century since the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement was signed, transforming the political and economic of Northern Ireland, and serving as a framework for peace and prosperity.

The United States greatly supported the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement process and has played a pivotal role in boosting prosperity in Northern Ireland over the last 25 years. The Prime Minister will use President Biden’s visit and his engagements with business leaders and others in Belfast to celebrate Northern Ireland’s successes and encourage further long-term investment.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak welcomes the US President Joe Biden to Northern Ireland. Flying Station Aldergrove. Picture by Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Street

The United States is one of the largest sources of foreign investment into Northern Ireland, putting £1.5 billion into its economy over the last decade and creating 13,000 jobs. This includes tech giants such as Microsoft establishing themselves there. Around 1,000 US-owned businesses operate in Northern Ireland and in 2022 businesses in Northern Ireland exported goods worth over £1 billion to the United States.

In the last few months the economic links between the US and Northern Ireland have grown further, with companies like semiconductor manufacturer Wolfspeed announcing a major R&D partnership with Queen’s University Belfast. Wolfspeed is based in North Carolina, a US state the UK signed a state-level trade agreement with in July last year.

As part of the Prime Minister’s ambition to bring more inward investment into Northern Ireland’s thriving economy, he will announce that the UK will host a Northern Ireland Investment Summit in September this year.

The Summit will connect international investors with Northern Ireland businesses, showcasing the best of what Northern Ireland has to offer. The Summit will profile Northern Ireland’s innovation and technological strengths, with a special focus on financial & professional services, life & health sciences, technology, green manufacturing and the creative services.

Bolstered by its place within the UK, Northern Ireland has a diverse and thriving economy. Northern Ireland received almost £20bn in inward investment in 2020, with companies from around the world recognising its growth potential, talent and expertise. Belfast is the biggest hub for technology companies in the UK after London and Northern Ireland is home to more than 100 cyber security companies.

The UK Government is also supporting growth in Northern Ireland through investment in infrastructure and education to foster Northern Irish talent and expertise. The UK Government provides around £15 billion a year to Northern Ireland and through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund we are providing new community and neighbourhood infrastructure and improving facilities for families in every council in Northern Ireland.

The Prime Minister said:

“The Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement was an incredible moment in our nation’s history. It was a powerfully rare example of people doing the previously unthinkable to create a better future for Northern Ireland.

“It is that promise of a better future that we offered to everyone in Northern Ireland that I will be thinking of first and foremost over the coming days. It is my responsibility as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to ensure we are making good on that promise.

“Northern Ireland – like the rest of the UK – is teeming with opportunities, talent and ingenuity. The biggest thing we can do to improve people’s standard of living and secure a prosperous and thriving Northern Ireland, is economic growth. That’s something I’m relentlessly focused on delivering.”

The Northern Ireland Investment Summit will be led by the Department for Business and Trade in partnership with the Northern Ireland Office and Invest Northern Ireland. It will take place on 12th and 13th September 2023 in Belfast.

The event is a key part of the UK’s overall programme to mark the remarkable progress in Northern Ireland over the last quarter century and will support our vision for a prosperous 25 years ahead.

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