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Invest NI toasts Dutch market

Companies in the North secured £6m worth of business in the Netherlands last year through Invest NI trade initiatives, the government support agency has said.

Guests at the fourth annual Northern Ireland-Netherlands Trade and Export Society dinner in Belfast heard details of the successes and export potential in the Dutch market.

Representatives from Dutch companies as well as business leaders from the North were among the 80 guests at the event on Wednesday night.

Tracy Meharg, Invest NI's managing director of innovation and capability development, said: "Over recent years, Northern Ireland has had great opportunities to enhance trade and export links with the Netherlands, and there is much scope for further growth.

"The Netherlands is now the sixth most important European market for our manufacturers. Customers in the Netherlands purchased goods worth £95m, 6pc of our total exports to markets on the Continent in 2008/09.

"In order to accelerate economic growth, I would encourage local businesses to take advantage of the opportunities that exist to develop export links. Last year, 17 local companies benefited from Invest Northern Ireland's innovative 'Going Dutch' programme, which offers businesses extensive on-the-ground, practical support from an experienced marketing consultancy.

"I want to encourage and support a great many more of our companies to explore business in open markets such as the Netherlands, building mutually beneficial business relationships."

The 17 companies that took part in Invest NI's Going Dutch programme last year specialised in products including glass art for Dutch hotels and homes, lightweight rainwear and web-based tools for the HR and recruitment industry.

PA Media