International goodwill must be harnessed to boost the economy because it will not last forever, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness has said.
Mr McGuinness was speaking at the New York Stock Exchange's headquarters in Belfast.
"There is enormous interest and good will towards Ireland north and south; this won't last forever and we need to seize the initiative and tap into it," he said.
"We need to replace competition on the island with cooperation to market and promote business."
Mr McGuinness said there had been a "step change in politics" since the institutions at Stormont were restored four years ago.
"We have faced challenges within and outside of the political process. We have met those challenges and have maintained working institutions.
"There remains a strong unity of purpose at the heart of government to build on the achievements of the executive and assembly, to strengthen our relationships and to build on our agreements."
He said in the next term they faced "global, national and regional" economic challenges.
"The scale of political change achieved over the past number of years provides lessons for how we approach our economic difficulties," he said.
Mr McGuinness said it was important to identify "our competitive advantage".
"We need the innovative thinking, the hard decision making, the dialogue that marked the process of political change. This is not just an issue for policy makers but all levels of our community and business sector," he said.