A NEW Government-backed trade and investment hub is being set up in Belfast to boost exports and potentially cash in on future UK free trade agreements with the US, Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Rim nations.
It is one of four such hubs – the others are in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Darlington – confirmed by Westminster’s international trade secretary Liz Truss.
Between them, 550 staff are expected to be recruited by 2025, with an ambition to increase this to 750 by 2030.
The hubs are central to the Department for International Trade’s new export campaigns, which will help UK businesses in key industries take advantage of trade opportunities around the world and attract investment.
They will mean exporters have a direct feed into UK trade policy, and can better take advantage of opportunities in fast-growing markets like the Indo-Pacific region.
The hubs will be home to teams of export and investment specialists who can provide businesses with expert support and advice to help them maximise their export potential; offer better access major trade markets like India, the US and Japan; and feed directly into DIT’s free trade agreements programme.
Exports support 6.5 million jobs across the UK, of which 129,000 are in Northern Ireland, according to Ms Truss, who said: “These trade and investment hubs will help the whole UK to an export and jobs-led recovery.
“They will mean we can channel investment into all corners of the country, and that exporters have access to the expertise they need to sell into the fastest growing markets.”