In general, the report is an extensive piece of work which identifies current cross-border economic realities and places them in their historical context. Its focus on a possible framework for cross border development is welcome and is an important contribution to both Governments' consideration of the issues involved. However, the question of establishing a border development zone raises considerable challenges, particularly in the current economic climate and against the backdrop of competing policy and institutional priorities.
In the context of regional and all-island economic development, and recognising opportunities to pursue mutually beneficial cross border co-operation on aspects of economic policy and infrastructure/spatial planning, IDA Ireland already cooperates extensively on a number of initiatives with Invest Northern Ireland. Both agencies also share a strategic focus on attracting companies from the targeted sectors of ICT, Financial Services and Clean technologies.
An example of co-operation between IDA Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland is the joint development of the North West Business and Technology Zone Initiative (NWBTZ) (North West NOW). The fundamental aim has been to capitalise on the combined strengths of Letterkenny and Derry City as an economic corridor. The focus has been on developing compatible infrastructure and property solutions, which are now in place, and make the region more attractive for investment.
There is also close co-operation between Invest NI and Enterprise Ireland. The clients of each agency can access the services provided of the others including market services, trade missions, trade fairs, seminars etc. For example, Invest NI clients can participate in Enterprise Ireland management development programmes such as Leadership 4 Growth and International Selling.