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The Isle of Man government expects the local economy to expand at more than twice the average gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate anticipated for Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member states this year.

In 2012, the Manx economy expanded by 3% in real terms against an average of 1.4% across the OECD. The local economy is projected to grow at a faster rate in 2013, by around 4%, considerably higher than the OECD average of 1.4% expected this year.

Commenting on the release of the figures, Minister for Economic Development, John Shimmin said that the island’s relatively strong position is as a result of the diverse economy, and the government’s supportive economic policies, noting that “my department is playing a key role in driving this growth, working closely with the private sector. The foundation for sustainable growth is development of our key export-generating sectors, such as financial services, manufacturing, ICT, e-gaming, tourism, aviation and ship management.”

“My Department continues to both aid existing local businesses to expand as well as attract new businesses in these key sectors,” he added. “We estimate we helped to create 130 jobs in these sectors in 2012, which then stimulated growth in the wider economy. We are forecasting this figure will increase to 180 jobs in 2013, building our confidence that our overall growth projections are credible in what will continue to be a tough global market.”

“In summary, I believe we can take much comfort that our island continues to enjoy a strong, growing economy which is vital if we are also to achieve government’s other priorities of balancing the budget while protecting the most vulnerable in our community.”

The resilience of the local economy comes as a result of the government’s strategy to target new niche market sectors, such as ship and aircraft registration and film finance.

The Isle of Man Aircraft Registry is the fastest growing offshore register in the world, with more than 500 aircraft now registered following its launch in May 2007. The Shipping Registry too saw double-digit growth in 2010 and 2011, breaching the 15m Gross Registered Tonnage milestone on January 4, 2013.

To build upon the island’s prospects in the film finance arena, the government agreed in October 2012 to transfer management of the island’s GBP25m film and television investment fund to Pinewood Film Advisors Ltd, taking a 9.89% stake in the company. The deal seeks to leverage Pinewood’s significant experience and contacts, which has seen it involved in high-profile productions such as the latest Bond film, Skyfall.

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