A Northern Ireland delegation representing its business and education sectors visited Jeddah on Saturday for enhancing business relationship with their local counterparts. Invest Northern Ireland organized the visit, which was marked by one-to-one meetings between the businessmen of the two countries at the British consulate.
The group will travel to Alkhobar for further discussions about trade, joint ventures and other business exchanges.
The delegation includes senior representatives of three Northern Ireland colleges specializing in vocational training and other career development programs. Included in the group is Belfast Metropolitan College, Northern Ireland’s biggest provider of further education and training courses for young people and industry.
"This substantial delegation from Northern Ireland indicates the extent of interest in the region in doing business. Over the years, the Kingdom has proved very successful for Northern Ireland because of the quality and innovation that they provide consistently to customers across a wide range of business sector," said Invest Northern Ireland Country Manager Wissam Saadi. The delegation is also being assisted by commercial staff at the UK Diplomatic Posts in both Jeddah and Alkhobar.
"As a result of this strategic focus on Saudi Arabia, Northern Ireland’s annual exports to the Kingdom recently passed the 100 million-pound mark. Northern Ireland has longstanding and successful trading links with the Kingdom and has organised business missions to the market over many years," he added.
He also said these missions have introduced several Northern Ireland companies, both large and small in the industry sectors. Among Northern Ireland companies with a lengthy track record of success in Saudi Arabia are those specializing in engineering equipment such as power generation and materials handling machinery and services, dairy especially butter, and textiles including carpets.
Most of the companies represented in the mission have extensive experience of doing business in the Kingdom. They include some of Northern Ireland’s most successful exporter, including Caterpillar NI, the Northern Ireland operation of the leading US corporation that manufactures electricity generating sets, Terex Finlay, part of Terex, the US specialist in quarrying, screening, washing and recycling machinery, H&J Martin, a civil engineering and contracting group, and Wright bus, one of Europe’s most successful and innovative bus builders.
"The Invest NI office in Jeddah was established in 2011 to assist Northern Ireland companies in developing business opportunities throughout the Kingdom. We’ve developed relationships with businesses Kingdomwide and helped Northern Ireland companies keen to build partnerships here," said Saadi.
The companies visiting Saudi Arabia till May 15 are Anaconda Equipment International, Belfast Metropolitan College, Boomer Industries, Caterpillar NI, Delta Group, Diet Express, Edge Innovate, Greenfields Ireland, H&J Martin, Lowe Refrigeration, Mallaghan Engineering Northern Regional College, PWS Ireland, Randox Laboratories, SDC Trailers, SW College, Terex Finlay, Ulster Weavers and Wright bus.