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Delay to US investment visit 'due to Brexit vote' - DFM

Credit: Pacemaker

An American investment mission to Northern Ireland planned for October will instead take place next year, according to the region's US consulate.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness believes the postponement is as a direct consequence of the Brexit vote.

The delegates considering Northern Ireland as a potential location for expanding their operations are involved in growth industries such as cyber-security and bio-medical sciences.

It is understood the uncertainty created by the vote was one of the factors that influenced the decision to postpone the mission.

Mr McGuinness, an ardent Remain campaigner, said the move indicated a "considerable slowing up" of Northern Ireland's prospects of attracting foreign direct investment following the Brexit vote.

"Plans were in place for an economic mission of considerable size for October of this year and that was on the basis they hoped the vote on Brexit would be a remain vote," he said.

"Now since that is not the case I have been told yesterday at a meeting that that visit has now been postponed, directly as a result of the vote.

"That is of considerable concern."

But a US Consulate spokesman in Belfast insists they remain "strongly committed to bolstering two-way trade and investment with Northern Ireland".

"We anticipate that a US trade and investment delegation will visit Northern Ireland in the first half of 2017," he added.