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DUP MLA Gary Middleton has welcomed the announcement that a new trade and investment hub is being set up in Belfast by the Department for International Trade.

The Foyle MLA, who is a member of the Assembly's Economy Committee said, "These new hubs across the UK will be key to help take advantage of export opportunities across the world. It is important that Belfast is part of that UK-wide effort and exporters here have the opportunity to feed in to UK trade policy as well as receive the benefit of support and advice.

With a hub in each nation of the UK it is absolutely vital that all parts of the UK work together and we see benefits for every region. Here in Northern Ireland such announcements highlight the need to deal with the problems associated with the Northern Ireland Protocol however. Whilst there are huge opportunities in international markets across the world, businesses here have had barriers erected within the UK domestic market which is Northern Ireland's most important outlet.

The Economy Minister is looking ahead to the future and recently launched an action plan for economic recovery. Northern Ireland has world-class industries and there are many opportunities for growth. This hub can provide Northern Ireland with further opportunities and it is important these are maximised. The reaction of the SDLP and SF to such a decision speaks more about their political dogma than their concern for the economy."