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Why Ireland remains a top destination for US companies

Posted on about 2 months ago by Laurentina Kennedy

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Why Ireland remains a top destination for US companies.

With manufacturing employing 270,000 people and contributing 37% of Ireland’s GDP, it’s critical the sector remains innovative, competitive to keep attracting US investment, says IDA

Brian Conroy, Executive VP and Director North America at IDA Ireland, explains why Ireland continues to attract US investment

Brian Conroy, Executive Vice President and Director North America at IDA Ireland.

Brian Conroy, Executive Vice President and Director North America at IDA Ireland

Ireland’s investment relationship with the U.S. is strong and enduring because — like any good relationship — it’s beneficial for both sides.
Today, of the roughly 1,800 multinational companies that have chosen Ireland as a location for their global operations, about half of them are based in the U.S.
What’s more, these companies employ more than 180,000 people in Ireland. Across the Atlantic, we’re also a good investment partner. Ireland is among the top 10 largest sources of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the U.S., and Irish companies employ more than 110,000 people across every state in the U.S.
When it comes to why U.S. companies choose to invest here, some factors just make our country an inherently appealing place to do business. For starters, American companies operating here gain access to the large and lucrative E.U. market. We’re also the only member state in the E.U. that speaks English as its primary language. And it doesn’t hurt that someone working in New York City can hold a mid-morning call with teams from both their Los Angeles and Dublin offices
without inconveniencing either of them.
Of course, U.S. investments in Ireland are by no means gained effortlessly. A key reason our country is an attractive place for U.S. companies to do business is because people here in government, industry and academia work hard to make it that way.

Keeping pace with changing times 
The business world is never static. But rarely have companies had to evolve and adapt like they have the last few years as they’ve navigated a global pandemic, supply chain challenges, geopolitical and economic turmoil, and technology disruption.
Today, available office space, competitive tax rates and amenities like high-speed internet aren’t enough to attract FDI spending. Countries need to keep pace with the speed of business to help companies stay competitive, which is exactly what Ireland is doing. Here are just a few examples:

AI: Well before ChatGPT entered the world’s vocabulary, Ireland already had an AI strategy in place. Titled “AI — Here for Good,” the strategy was crafted to help our country be a global leader in the use of AI to deliver economic and societal benefits.
Ireland is also home to world-class research centres like the INSIGHT Centre and the CEDAR Institute that are at the forefront of AI research and actively collaborating with businesses on the technology. Government-allocated research funds like the Digital Transition Fund and the Disruptive Technology Fund incentivize research centres and industry in Ireland to engage in research and development in AI and other cutting-edge technologies.
Manufacturing: Ireland’s manufacturing sector employs more than 270,000 people and contributes to 37% of the country’s GDP. So, it’s critical that the sector remains innovative and competitive to keep Ireland top of mind for U.S. companies when they want to establish or expand their global manufacturing operations.
In support of this goal, IDA Ireland last year opened Digital Manufacturing Ireland (DMI) in Limerick to advance the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector. This national centre of excellence is a resource where Irish-based manufacturers, including multi-national businesses, can access expertise, experiment with future technologies, and train staff in new manufacturing areas.

Sustainability: American companies are putting a greater focus on improving the sustainability of their operations. Proposed regulations in the U.S. could require them to soon track and report emissions across their entire supply chains. And many U.S. companies like companies here in Europe are seeking to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner.
Ireland is taking aggressive steps to help these companies meet their environmental goals. We have one of the most ambitious decarbonisation goals not only in Europe, but in the world. For example, we’re the top country in the world for share of electricity demand provided by onshore wind. And we’re aiming to get at least 80% of electricity generation from renewables by 2030.
Companies operating here can also receive financial support for climate action plans, decarbonisation projects, and the development of green economy technologies.

Remote and hybrid work: U.S. companies expanding internationally want to retain remote and hybrid work approaches that many employees appreciate. Some companies have even established remote hubs in Ireland to take advantage of the benefits of remote work and realize cost savings.
Organisations like IDA Ireland have worked to help facilitate remote and hybrid work. This has involved creating an environment that supports such work approaches by ensuring reliable broadband infrastructure and necessary supporting facilities.

What’s next?
Keeping Ireland as a top investment destination for U.S. companies will require building on the work that got us here.
We’ve established industry clusters in critical sectors such as technology, life sciences, financial services. Now, we need to continue strengthening those clusters to ensure they remain competitive and conducive to innovation. And by continuing to remain open to talent from the E.U. and beyond, we can help companies fill the skilled positions that they may struggle to fill in other parts of the world.
Additionally, by maintaining a supportive environment for businesses and staying at the forefront of technologies, like AI, quantum computing and others, we can continue to show American companies that we’re not only a good place to do business — we can be a partner for success.