In the wake of the Brexit referendum, the EU-US relationship was the theme as the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland celebrated Independence Day 2016. Six hundred members of the Ireland US business community attended the annual event in the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, in Dublin. The keynote speaker was US Ambassador to the European Union Anthony L. Gardner, with US Ambassador to Ireland Kevin F. O’Malley also a guest of honour.
Bob Savage, President of the American Chamber, welcomed the Ambassadors to the event saying “it shows just how important the Irish US business relationship has become that as Independence Day is celebrated around the world we are honoured to have President Obama’s representatives for both Ireland and the European Union join us today.
“Ireland’s relationship with the US is part of the bigger picture of the transatlantic relationship,” according to Mr. Savage. “This relationship between the continent of Europe and the US was rocked to its foundations last week by the results of the UK referendum.
“Every day across Europe 4.3 million people go to work in a US company,” said Bob Savage, “In Ireland, that number is 140,000. We are home to a growing number of US companies. The impact of Brexit will take some time to assess, but what is already clear is that our role as the Gateway to Europe for US companies has become even more important. The cultural ties that Ireland, the UK and the US all share have made us natural companions in building the EU-US relationship. Brexit leaves Ireland as the caretaker for this relationship.”
Bob Savage called for the creation of certainty to be a priority saying, “for all businesses in Ireland, Europe and around the world, clarity is urgently required. As the reshaping of relationships get underway, the Irish Government has a vital role to play. There will be many social considerations, legal and practical ones also. But we believe restoring certainty for business must be prioritized. A focus on ensuring the competitiveness of Europe as a region is at the forefront of negotiations, and a calm and measured response, is vital to give certainty to business.”
The American Chamber also highlighted the area of data transfers as a major concern. The issue impacts not just on US businesses in Ireland but any global business in Europe, and indeed on consumers. Meanwhile the American Chamber continues to support efforts to establish a comprehensive EU-US trade deal which it says is a major opportunity, from which Ireland will benefit.
Today’s event was sponsored by AIB Corporate Banking.
Photos from this year's Independence Day Lunch
Independence Day Speeches
Anthony L. Gardner, US Ambassador to the EU
Bob Savage, President of the American Chamber
Kevin F. O'Malley, US Ambassador to Ireland
Robert Mulhall, AIB