Page last updated at 06:48 GMT, Tuesday, 2 December 2008

NI 'open' for American business

US visit
The First and Deputy First Ministers are in the United States

Northern Ireland is still "open for business" - that is what the first and deputy first ministers have told business leaders in the United States.

Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness were speaking at the Fortune 500 dinner hosted by the US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland, Paula Dobriansky.

They said NI was a "viable location for investors" despite the credit crunch.

"The executive is committed to offering an open and welcoming environment for inward investment," said Mr Robinson.

"I firmly believe that Northern Ireland offers a range of specialist and niche skills that investors can take advantage of.

"Northern Ireland is an economy in transition and we are aware of the challenges we face."

Speaking to dinner guests from some of the largest and most profitable companies in the US, Mr McGuinness said Northern Ireland had the "skills and location to build business".

"Our location and infrastructure give ready access to the developing all-Ireland economy, access to the British market and into Europe," he said.

"We are a highly competitive cost environment, but our economy does not compete on cost alone, we compete on talent. One of our greatest assets is our skills base.

"Potential investors will find a highly skilled and motivated workforce proven in our history of engineering and in our expertise in emerging technologies."

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