First Minister Ian Paisley and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness opened the Nasdaq stock market in New York today (Wednesday) as part of a trip to promote the Six Counties to US capitalists.
The pair launched electronic trading at the market in a bid to encouorage investment by US multinational corporations north of the border.
They also visited the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street, and met Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg in a series of meetings with leading US business and political figures.
Mr Paisley described the trip as “hugely important for Northern Ireland”.
“It provides an opportunity to engage at the highest level with US business and political leaders,” he said.
“Northern Ireland is open for business and is ready to meet the challenges that lie ahead.”
Inviting US corporate chiefs at the New York Stock Exchange to an investment conference planned for next May, Ian Paisley said “the best way to see the product is to visit it”.
Mr McGuinness added: “The executive which myself and the first minister jointly head has put the economy at the top of our priorities.
“We are here in the US not just to thank them [US corporate leaders] for their help and support in the past but to impress on them that we are determined to build on the political progress that we have made by building a vibrant economy which will offer real opportunities not just for our people but for those who chose to invest in it.”
He added that he was delighted to be in New York and that he is “very proud to work with Ian Paisley”.
Following the conference, Mayor Bloomberg promised to lead a trade delegation to the Six Counties next year.
The visit by the First and Deputy First Ministerswill culminate with a meeting with President George Bush in the White House on Friday.