Monitoring export performance helps drive economic growth: Foster

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster today launched the latest Economic Commentary by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI), which includes a new Exports Monitor.

The Exports Monitor utilises Regional Trade Statistics published by the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to examine Northern Ireland’s exports performance.

Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster said: “Evidence shows that export led growth is a proven route for small open economies such as Northern Ireland to grow. The latest figures show that international trade is increasing despite the global economic downturn and therefore there are significant opportunities for Northern Ireland exporters to tap into.

“Export led growth is the focus of the new Executive Economic Strategy and the Exports Monitor tool will enable us to track local export performance every quarter.”

The latest edition of the Economic Commentary focuses on a range of annual statistics which provide an indication of how the Northern Ireland economy is performing on the key drivers of growth.

The Minister continued: “The latest figures reveal a very welcome increase in spending on Research and Development last year, reflecting the importance local firms place on innovation to drive and grow their business.

“However, wages and living standards remain below the UK average, which highlights why I and Executive colleagues are not content to accept the status quo. We are determined to transform the local economy and place it on a higher growth trajectory. Through the draft Economic Strategy and by continuing to push for corporation tax powers to be devolved to Northern Ireland, we are rebuilding and rebalancing the local economy.”

The commentary also highlights that while Northern Ireland remains a Small and Medium Sized dominated economy, large and foreign owned companies make a significant contribution to local employment, output, exports and spending on Research and Development.

Arlene Foster concluded: “I am determined to help businesses across Northern Ireland, both large and small, through the current economic difficulties. Invest Northern Ireland’s Boosting Business programme has a range of measures on exports, R&D and skills.”

The DETI Economic Commentary can be accessed at www.detini.gov.uk/deti-stats-index/deti-stats-index-4.htm