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NI Chamber confirms new strategic alliance in USA

11th Mar 2024

On Monday 11 March 2024, Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) signed its first international Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with its counterpart in the US State of North Carolina.

The MOU marks the start of a new relationship between NI Chamber and the NC Chamber, with both parties committing to work together to promote international trade, investment and co-operation. It includes pledges to leverage existing synergies between both economies, share research and learning and foster new relationships between businesses on both sides of the Atlantic.

The partnership, which was affirmed at a signing ceremony in the Capital City of Raleigh, right in the heart of the Research Triangle, has been welcomed by U.S. Special Envoy to Northern Ireland for Economic Affairs, Joe Kennedy III, along with a host of political and industry leaders, many of whom were present for the significant event.

Speaking from Raleigh, NI Chamber President, Cathal Geoghegan said:

“Today marks the start of an exciting new relationship between businesses in Northern Ireland and North Carolina. It will give our most innovative and ambitious member companies on both sides of the Atlantic unique access to potential trading relationships, world-leading research, strategic business alliances and many other collaboration opportunities.

“North Carolina and Northern Ireland are an ideal fit because we both have a growing industry base in Aerospace, Health and Life Sciences, Advanced Manufacturing, Tech and Financial Services. We are building this relationship from a solid platform, with many links already established by member companies like Almac, Collins Aerospace, EY, Teamworks, Queen’s University and others. This MOU formalises the relationship between Chambers of Commerce in both jurisdictions and highlights the scale of opportunity which exists. It is about deepening current relationships further and acting as a catalyst for the widest future collaboration to help businesses grow across and within each region.

“We know that Northern Ireland is a brilliant place to work, live, trade and invest. Dual market access to the EU and GB markets presents significant opportunity. We are proud of the depth of our talent pool, the strength of our research and our success on the world stage already. As a place to do business, we have a unique and compelling proposition which businesses in North Carolina and across the United States recognise. At NI Chamber, we look forward to using our growing international network to bring more opportunities to fruition.”

Gary J. Salamido, president and CEO of the NC Chamber, added:

“We see incredible alignment with Northern Ireland as we both offer a great place to live, work, and raise a family. As the top state for business in the US, it is important that we foster relationships that bolster our members’ ability to grow their businesses, invest in their people, and compete in today’s global marketplace. North Carolina is primed for continued investment and this MOU with our friends at Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry will help each of us realize new opportunities for the diverse set of businesses in each of our memberships. We look forward to strengthening our relationship.”

U.S. Special Envoy to Northern Ireland for Economic Affairs, Joe Kennedy III has welcomed the new relationship between two business-led organisations, saying:

“This is exactly the type of initiative I want to see happening between our two jurisdictions.

“It is evident that Northern Ireland and North Carolina have many similarities across high- potential sectors, which can be boosted significantly by greater and deeper alliances such as this one.  Indeed, I believe it should be viewed as a prototype, which has the potential to be rolled out in other parts of the United States.

“I look forward to seeing this MOU between NI Chamber and North Carolina Chamber being implemented, with business-led visits in both directions set to bring forward many new learning and investment opportunities. As Special Envoy, I will do whatever I can to help unlock the significant potential that this innovative new partnership brings.”

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris added:

“This exciting new partnership demonstrates the appeal of Northern Ireland’s strength sectors and welcoming business environment to investors in the United States.

“It will unlock opportunities for businesses on both sides of the Atlantic, and builds on the fantastic success of last year’s Northern Ireland Investment Summit, which saw more than 200 of the world’s leading CEOs visit Belfast for a showcase of NI’s fantastic offer as one of the best places in the world to do business.”