Lyons meets UAE Economy Minister on visit to Expo 2020 Dubai ahead of Northern Ireland day

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has met His Excellency Abdoulla Bin Touq Al Marri – the UAE Economy Minister – on the final part of his trade and investment trip to Dubai.

By Gordon Lyons MLA

East Antrim

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The Minster met with his UAE counterpart on a visit to Expo 2020 Dubai.

Mr Lyons said: “The meeting with His Excellency Abdoulla Bin Touq Al Marri was important and productive. We discussed the impact of Expo 2020 and the opportunities for trade and investment between Northern Ireland and UAE. Throughout this short visit, I have been impressed with the progress Northern Ireland companies have made in building business out here and, of course, I am keen for this to continue.”

Expo 2020 Dubai is the world’s largest live international event with over 190 countries taking part. Northern Ireland is collaborating with the Department for International Trade on the UK Pavilion at the six-month long show, which after being postponed due to Covid-19 in 2020, started in October 2021.

The Minister said: “Northern Ireland has long been known for its entrepreneurial and innovative spirit. Expo 2020 Dubai provides a unique opportunity to share this story and showcase all that we have to offer.

“During my visit to the UK Pavilion, I saw first-hand how the unique innovations of Northern Ireland companies including See.Sense, Ulster Carpets and CropSafe are being showcased in an immersive experience to visitors from around the world. I also had the opportunity to meet with Londonderry-based Joule Group, Lisburn’s Lowe Rental and Newtownabbey’s Environmental Street Furniture who have all secured significant contracts to supply their services to the Expo.”

On 16 February 2022, under the UK's theme of 'Innovating for a shared future’ Northern Ireland will take over the UK Pavilion, bringing a flavour of Northern Ireland to the world and sharing the best of Northern Ireland and our people; from culture to tourism, business to education.

The Minister continued: “The Northern Ireland day underpins the very definition of my Department’s 10X Economic Vision, to embrace innovation to deliver a ten times better economy with benefits for all our people. As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, our plans are to use this special day to apply our infamous entrepreneurial spirit with renewed energy and focus.”

The Minister also joined a Tourism Ireland networking event where he heard from tourism providers on their efforts to attract visitors to Northern Ireland.

Steve Harper, Invest NI’s Executive Director of International Business, said: “There have been over half a million visitors to Expo 2020 Dubai. This is a great platform to raise Northern Ireland’s profile and inspire visitors to learn more about Northern Ireland. From education to tourism, business to culture, food and innovation, Northern Ireland is an integral part of the six-month programme at the UK pavilion, where I am pleased that we will also host a special Northern Ireland Day this coming February.

“From this visit, it is clear that we are using this unique opportunity as a platform to bring a taste of Northern Ireland to the UAE and to the many international visitors who will walk through those iconic Expo gates.”

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