Economy Minister Simon Hamilton has praised Northern Ireland’s manufacturing sector during a visit to Canyon Europe Ltd in Newtownabbey.
Canyon Europe Ltd is a subsidiary of the Canyon Group and is a global leader in the design and manufacture of high quality and innovative dispensing solutions. They are the first Japanese company to set up in Northern Ireland and trade in over 50 markets around the world.
Speaking as he met company management and staff during a tour of the factory in Mallusk, the Minister said: “Manufacturing is hugely important to the Northern Ireland economy. Manufacturing provides around 11 per cent of all jobs in Northern Ireland and almost 16 per cent of total economic output of the region. The sector makes a significant contribution to export levels and research and development, both of which are central to wealth generation.
“I am pleased that in spite of many challenges our local manufacturing sector has seen its output grow by 2.4 per cent in the last year and that employment in manufacturing firms has grown to approximately 80,000.
“My Department’s key objectives are to stimulate innovation and Research and Development, improve the skills of the workforce, and to enable businesses to compete successfully in global markets. These are all areas that the manufacturing sector has embraced.”
The Minister continued: “Businesses and the workforce are key drivers of economic growth. The new Programme for Government framework contains a set of outcomes which reflect our ambitions to grow the economy and improve our economic competitiveness. A refocused economic strategy will further support and reflect our ambition to rebalance the local economy.
“There are plenty of challenges ahead not least the continuing volatility in global markets and the constraints facing the public sector. To ensure success in the global economy we must have the right policies in place to enhance Northern Ireland’s competitiveness internationally. This means working closely with the private sector to ensure we create a highly skilled workforce that meets the demand of businesses and underpins economic growth.
“Reducing the rate of Corporation Tax to 12.5 per cent from 2018 will be a powerful lever that can stimulate economic prosperity. It is important that we continue with the work to prepare the way for this important change and maximise the opportunity that a lower Corporation Tax rate will bring. We will work to secure new Foreign Direct Investment, and encourage local businesses to invest and grow.”