The outcome of a Hong Kong trade visit to Mid Ulster has ‘significant potential’ for the region’s agri-food industry.
A two-day visit to the area by senior buyers from the agri-food sector in Hong Kong included a series of meetings with major food businesses in Mid Ulster, as well as a ‘meet the buyer’ and networking event which brought 20 local companies under one roof to explore new supply chain opportunities and export markets with the delegation.
Exports from NI to Hong Kong were worth £99M in 2016-2017, an increase of 72% on the previous year, demonstrating the potential value of the market, according to Councillor Kim Ashton, Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, which co-funded the visit with Invest Northern Ireland:
“The agri-food sector is worth £4 billion annually in Northern Ireland, with food and drink accounting for 20% of our exports and 25% of all manufacturing jobs.
“In Mid Ulster specifically, the industry is 1 of our top 3 sectors and, in this context, this trade visit has significant potential for agri-food businesses here.
“Working with CAFRE and Invest NI we have undoubtedly showcased the best of Mid Ulster’s produce to some of the most influential agri-food buyers in the Chinese market.
“We hope that we are witnessing the beginning of long-lasting, mutually beneficial economic relationships and that this will be the first of many international trade visits to Mid Ulster”.
Ethna McNamee Invest NI’s Western Regional Manager said:
“Northern Ireland’s reputation for pure, natural, quality food and drink is spreading throughout the world. Invest NI is focused on helping local businesses to maximise the commercial opportunities in Great Britain and beyond. Working with Mid Ulster District Council and CAFRE on this event was a fruitful exercise that we hope will cultivate successful trading relationships.”
The Hong Kong trade visit took place from Wednesday 18 – Thursday 19 April.