US Consulate: “We anticipate that a US trade and investment delegation will visit Northern Ireland in the first half of 2017”

The Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, has, in effect, called ‘bullshit’ on Martin McGuinness‘ claim that a proposed US investment delegation to Northern Ireland has been postponed “directly as a result of the vote” in the UK-wide EU membership referendum.

Unlike the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, echoed by his party colleague, Conor Murphy, the Secretary of State named the source of her information

…Theresa Villiers said that the US Special Envoy Gary Hart had blamed the decision of the trip’s leading figure leaving the US government.

She said the visit would now go ahead next year.

Of course, this particular US investment delegation has been postponed before.  As the late Liam Clarke pointed out in July last year.

After that, an investment conference to celebrate our latest “breakthrough” in the Stormont House Agreement had to be cancelled. US officials had helped Norman Houston, of the Northern Ireland Bureau to promote our coming fall in corporation tax. As soon as they got the message across, they were told that the “game-changer” economic measure might not happen.

And, despite Theresa Villiers’ protestations, it’s just as likely that continued uncertainty over that measure, including plans by the current UK Chancellor and the reaction of the NI Finance Minister, Sinn Féin’s Máirtín Ó Muilleoir…

“I think he has put a horse and carriage through our policy.

…has had an impact on the US delegates thinking, again.

In any event, as the UTV report notes

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.

When, of course, the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will still be on the agenda.

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