Northern Ireland Enterprise, Trade & Investment Minister Jonathan Bell has outlined the importance of China to the development of Northern Ireland’s economy.

The minister was addressing key influencers and stakeholders at the China Healthcare and Life Sciences Roadshow in Belfast, hosted by Invest Northern Ireland, the China-Britain Business Council and UK Trade & Investment.

Speaking from the roadshow Jonathan Bell said: “It is the perfect time to host the China Healthcare Roadshow in Northern Ireland as we are now in what is being labelled as the 'golden age' in UK-China relations.

"NI manufacturing exports to China have increased by 58 per cent over the last four years with companies including B/E Aerospace, Dunbia, Schrader Electronics and Andor Technology successfully driving export growth in the Chinese market. This proves that there is a definite appetite for Western goods and services that Northern Ireland companies are successfully filling.

“As well as a driven manufacturing sector, Northern Ireland has a vibrant local healthcare and life sciences sector which is research-intensive, innovative and highly diverse and I am proud to say that it is among the most technologically advanced in the global marketplace.

“This roadshow will highlight the export opportunities for our healthcare and life-sciences companies, focusing on four key themes; elderly care, digital health, hospital solutions and education and training. I strongly urge businesses here to explore the opportunities available and to seek Invest NI’s help in tapping into new export markets.”

Brian Gallagher, minister-counsellor and director for life science, health and social care, UK Trade & Investment added: “I am delighted to visit Northern Ireland to share with companies some of the projects that have been identified by UK Trade & Investment in China.

"Some 70 projects, validated by members of my team, offer an accessible value in excess of £12bn to UK organisations. I am delighted that we are currently forecasting more than £1bn in new business will be secured by UK enterprises during this year.”