Invest Northern Ireland is hoping to boost exports from the province and woo inward investment after opening an office in Italy.

The base, which will be housed in the British Consulate in Milan, has been funded from the New Deal agreement from the Northern Ireland Office put in place to smooth the post Brexit transition. It will be led by Invest NI’s new Regional Trade Manager Alex Mason.

The agency said there is significant opportunity in the region and will be using the dual market access enjoyed by Northern Ireland to both the UK and European Union markets under the Windsor Framework proposals as a major sell.

“Our new presence in Milan will support the growth of our economy by attracting new FDI and assisting Northern Ireland companies to access opportunities in the Italian market and ultimately grow their exports here,” Steve Harper, Invest NI’s Executive Director of International Business, on a visit to the new office, said. “The Windsor Framework gives Northern Ireland a unique position as the only region with access to both the UK home market and the EU single market.

“This market access for goods to the EU single market makes it easier for Italian companies to buy goods from Northern Ireland, therefore providing us with significant opportunities to develop and increase our exports to the EU.”

To mark its latest expansion, Invest NI is hosting a trade mission in Milan with eight of Northern Ireland’s finest distilleries. The Northern Ireland Spirits Showcase Event is enabling the eight companies to showcase their products including whiskey, rum, gin and poitín to Italian buyers and distributers.