£500k China and UAE export deals for Northern Ireland firms

By Matt Atherton

- Last updated on GMT

Four manufacturers agreed export deals after Invest NI trade missions
Four manufacturers agreed export deals after Invest NI trade missions

Related tags Northern ireland United arab emirates

Four Northern Ireland food and drink manufacturers have secured trade deals to China, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Europe, in deals worth a collective £500,000.

Fish processor Rooney Fish and coconut water firm CocoMojo agreed export deals with Hong Kong and China, while cream liqueur manufacturer Niche Drinks will trade to Russia. Wheat and gluten-free baker BFree signed a deal with a supermarket in the UAE.

The manufacturers agreed deals with the overseas customers after travelling on trade missions and exhibitions, organised by investment group Invest NI. The missions were designed to showcase manufacturers’ products on a global stage.

Invest NI’s director of trade Alison Gowdy said: “This is a fantastic result for Northern Ireland’s biggest manufacturing industry and showcases the increasing appetite around the world for Northern Ireland food and drink.

‘Fostering relationships’

“All of the businesses have put substantial time and resources into fostering relationships with global customers, which has helped them to secure these deals.”

“As a direct result of our programme of business activities in China, many Northern Ireland companies are reaping significant benefits, with Rooney Fish and CocoMojo now securing their first deals in this market, which is hugely encouraging.”

Rooney Fish was hopeful of securing further orders to the Far East, after agreeing its first export deal to Hong Kong.

“We are delighted to have shipped our Mill Bay Oysters to Hong Kong in our first year of harvesting,”​ said Rooney Fish’s ceo Andrew Rooney.

“We met with a leading seafood distributor during an Invest NI Exhibition in China and worked hard to build a rapport, which has allowed us to achieve this success.

‘A market full of opportunities’

“We see China as a market full of opportunities for our business and we look forward to continuing our recent success and securing further orders.”

Trade missions help manufacturers to gain access to key contacts and essential resources in markets that seem out of reach, said BFree’s European and Middle East business development manager David Waldron.

He said: “Securing fresh export deals is vital to the success of our business. Our sales in this region have increased by 50% since last year, due to new deals with both Spinneys and Lulu Supermarkets in the UAE. Also, we have recently been listed with Choithrams, a major UAE supermarket.”

In June it was revealed that Invest NI had invested £1.9M in Northern Ireland manufacturing​. About 282 jobs was created after the investment.

Northern Ireland firms that have sealed export deals

  • Rooney Fish
  • CocoMojo
  • BFree
  • Niche Drinks

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