Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson has been appointed as the UK Trade Envoy to Egypt, the first MP from Northern Ireland to be appointed to the role.
Last week the Prime Minister, David Cameron, contacted Mr Donaldson to offer him the prestigious post, representing the United Kingdom.
Trade Envoys are a network of parliamentarian appointed by the Prime Minister and drawn from across the political spectrum.
The Trade Envoys engage with one or more emerging markets where UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) has identified substantial trade and investment opportunities.
They support the drive for economic growth by building on the UK’s existing relations with these markets and maximising bilateral trade, thereby generating real and long term benefits for the UK. The Trade Envoy programme began in 2012 and continues to go from strength to strength.
There are currently 13 Trade Envoys in the network, covering around 32 markets.
Mr Donaldson will become one of the thirteen trade envoys in the UK government and is delighted to be taking up the position.
“Just ahead of the visit to the UK last week by the Egyptian President, I had a call from Downing Street advising me that the Prime Minister wished to appoint me as the UK Trade Envoy to Egypt, working alongside the United Kingdom Trade and Investment Agency (UKTI),” explained Mr Donaldson.
“Despite the current difficulties facing Egypt at present, I was happy to accept this appointment.
“Egypt is recognised as one of the growing markets and developing economies in the Middle East and North Africa and with a population of over 80 Million, there are many trade and investment opportunities for UK companies.
“These include in the security sector as well as in renewable energy, infrastructure development and higher education.
“The UK is the biggest investor already in Egypt with some of the largest British companies already having a significant presence there including BP, Vodafone and G4S.
“I am hoping to build upon this success and to encourage Northern Ireland companies to look at this expanding market.
“I have already been in touch with Invest NI about taking a Northern Ireland trade delegation to Egypt next year and I will also be leading a UK trade delegation which will include some local companies.
“I will have the support of a very strong UKTI team based in Cairo and in London as well as the existing British - Egyptian business organisations.
“I hope to work closely with our own Invest NI and Northern Ireland Executive to promote trade and investment opportunities.
“I will be talking to locally based businesses in Lagan Valley in a number of sectors who I believe could benefit from exporting to Egypt and doing business there.
“As the first Northern Ireland parliamentarian to be appointed to such a position, I am honoured to represent our country and will endeavour to ensure that all parts of the UK, including Northern Ireland and Lagan Valley are able to benefit from trade between the UK and Egypt.”