Page last updated at 15:42 GMT, Monday, 3 December 2012

Question Time: OFMDFM and Social Development

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said he and the first minister would return to China in 2013 to follow up on the success of their recent trade mission, on 3 December 2012.

Mr McGuinness said the mission had included over 30 companies and organisations.

He described some of the trade deals that had been concluded, and meetings held with companies, including Kowloon Motor Bus in Hong Kong, which uses vehicles built by Wrightbus in Ballymena, County Antrim.

In reply to a question from the DUP's William Irwin, the deputy first minister said it was "hugely important" that the Department of Enterprise and Invest Northern Ireland built on the contacts made during the visit.

The UUP leader Mike Nesbitt put it to Mr McGuinness that the trade mission did not get "within 1200 miles" of anyone with influence as it took place during the Chinese Communist Party Congress, held to announce the new Chinese leadership.

The minister said this was "a small-minded question asked by the leader of a party that is much smaller than it used to be".

He said it was not the first and deputy first ministers' fault that the Chinese Communist Party had decided to change the date of its meeting.

Anna Lo of Alliance said she was glad the minister had the opportunity to visit her homeland, and called for greater encouragement of tourism from China.

The Deputy First Minister was asked for an update on the latest developments at the Maze/Long Kesh site.

Mr McGuinness said the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society had already moved on to the site, having effectively taken on 65 acres.

He said that Daniel Liebeskind, architect for the World Trade Centre site, had visited Maze/ Long Kesh and was due to meet him and the First Minister, Peter Robinson, in the near future.

Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland answered questions on universal credit, the G8 meeting in Fermanagh, and the neighbourhood renewal action plan.


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