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A group of visiting civic and business leaders from Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Sister City of Gilbert, Arizona, were welcomed by the Mayor Councillor Mark Cooper BEM last week as they toured the Borough to hear about business opportunities, including major advanced manufacturing investments in Newtownabbey, ahead of the Northern Ireland Investment Summit

.The visit, which saw Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council host the largest American delegation in the partnership’s history, featured discussions around export opportunities as well as an update on the Council’s innovative Botanical Borough initiative. The delegation also engaged with a number of Consulates to hear about their work in Northern Ireland.

The visitors, whose special interests include advanced manufacturing, were told about plans for the £150m Ardagh Metal Packaging facility and £16.5m technology centre announced by global industrial technology company Sensata Technologies at Global Point, Newtownabbey.

In addition, they had an opportunity to learn about Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s £10m investment in the £100m Queens University Belfast-led Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC) at the Global Point campus.

Developed as part of Belfast’s Regional City Deal, AMIC will be the first of its kind in Northern Ireland and will be developed in partnership with the private sector working in this field.

AMIC will provide a hub for innovation, bringing together academia and business to transform both processes and products for future markets. The project is part of the Council’s ambition, which is well on track, to attract over £1bn of public and private sector investment and generate at least 3,600 new local jobs.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Cllr. Mark Cooper said the visit marked a proud moment for the Antrim and Newtownabbey area:

“The visit was even more of an honour for us on this occasion as it marked 25 years of the Sister Cities project. Progress with AMIC and the announcement of major investments at Global Point made the visit particularly timely and sparked some great discussions about how Antrim and Newtownabbey can continue to work with our friends in America on economic development and export opportunities including advanced manufacturing innovations.”