28th November 2019 – It’s been a strong year for US FDI in Ireland and the pipeline of investment has continued to grow steadily across all sectors. But in light of the challenges ahead, like Brexit and the predicted slowdown of the global economy, the Government must deliver a confident message to the world that Ireland is open for business.
This is according to the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland, which represents Ireland’s US Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) community. Today it hosted its annual Thanksgiving lunch in the Clayton Hotel on the Burlington Road in Dublin.
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar T.D. was the Guest of Honour at the event, where Dr. Mary Robinson was the recipient of the 2019 Distinguished Leadership Award.
Despite the challenges ahead, sentiment among US companies here has remained strong, according to the Chamber. A survey conducted over the past couple of weeks showed that 73% of US companies here expanded their teams over the past year. Almost half said they made a new investment or jobs announcement in 2019, and over eight in ten believe Ireland is a better place to invest today that it was four years ago.
In light of challenges such as Brexit, trade tensions and the potential slowdown in the global economy, the Chamber also highlighted that it was more important than ever for Government to present a confident message to the world that the country is open for business. According to the World Bank, Ireland has fallen to 24th place for ease of doing business with declining scores across a number of indicators including starting a business, dealing with construction permits and access to electricity.
The Chamber said that further growth was based on Ireland’s ability to embrace changes in technology and to develop the talent required for these changes. It called on Government to accelerate Project Ireland 2040, as the resolution of infrastructure bottlenecks including housing and roads was urgent.
Also speaking at the Thanksgiving lunch, Mark Gantly, President of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland 2019 and Senior R&D Director, Hewlett Packard Enterprise said:
“The durability and scale of FDI in Ireland is a stabilising factor within the Irish economy, but we cannot lose sight of the fact that, notwithstanding our track record of success, we are not alone out there in seeking to maintain and grow FDI. We are competing for the next wave of investments with many other countries, sometimes from within our own companies, and that competition is fierce and unrelenting. Ireland needs to work harder all the time to maintain its competitive edge, as strengthening our competitiveness is an essential component of future economic success.
“While there is acute awareness of the Brexit threat, FDI, and US FDI in particular, is an important buffer for the Irish economy which needs to be protected and nurtured. It is also important for Ireland to recognise and act upon the opportunity that Brexit presents for FDI in Ireland. Our location, our position as the only native English speaking country left in the EU, the depth of our talent pool, and our long and proven track record as a base for US companies to trade into EMEA and beyond are all the strengths which Ireland needs to play to.”
The Chamber’s Thanksgiving Day Celebration is sponsored by William Fry, Bryan Bourke, Managing Partner of William Fry said "As sponsors of the Annual American Chamber of Commerce Thanksgiving Lunch for the seventh consecutive year, we welcome the opportunity to help celebrate and reinforce the long-standing relationship that exists between Ireland and the US."