The U.S. State Department recently hosted the U.S.-Northern Ireland Economic Conference in an effort to promote foreign investment and job creation in Northern Ireland. In attendance were leaders of some of the largest international companies already operating in Northern Ireland, as well as companies with strong business interests in the region.
American companies have already created more than 1,000 new jobs in Northern Ireland, including 100 jobs created by GE Energy and more than 300 in the Belfast office of the New York Stock Exchange. Following the conference, 2 additional investments were announced: Dow Chemical will open a supply chain consulting service in Belfast and the Terex Corporation will open a European business services center.
"These jobs," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, "are not just numbers. They represent opportunities for people, particularly young people, to be able to feel a strong connection with and make a stake in the future." The office of the U.S. Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland has also launched the U.S.-Northern Ireland mentorship program, placing young people from Northern Ireland in American companies for one-year internships.
Building a stronger economy in Northern Ireland will help secure a lasting peace. Over the past year, there has been great progress, including the Hillsborough agreement on the devolution of policing powers and justice from London to Belfast. This was a key step towards realizing the promise of the Good Friday Agreement and the St. Andrews Agreement in achieving a full and lasting peace.
"And peace in Northern Ireland," said Secretary Clinton, "is a bedrock foreign policy priority for the United States. We know that to survive, peace must be visible beyond the halls of government," said Secretary Clinton. "It must be daily improvements in people's lives, not just in the absence of violence but the presence of good jobs, business starts, skills learned, communities recovered from decline." That's why the U.S. will continue to help promote economic development in Northern Ireland.