Ireland is ninth biggest source of inward FDI to the US

Close to 800 Irish companies employ 100,000 people in the US, says Enterprise Ireland

The US Capitol Building  in Washington DC. According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, the value of Ireland’s foreign direct investment into the US  was €69bn in 2017. Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The US Capitol Building in Washington DC. According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, the value of Ireland’s foreign direct investment into the US was €69bn in 2017. Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

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Close to 800 Irish companies have operations in the United States, employing more than 100,000 people, according to new figures.

The data comes as State body Enterprise Ireland recently redoubled efforts to promote Irish businesses in North America in the wake of Brexit.

The number of Enterprise Ireland client companies who opened new offices in the US in 2017 rose 18 per cent via the prior year to 59. Locations selected by firms included New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Texas, Missouri, Colorado and Washington.

The agency said Irish companies operated in all 50 states and across a broad range of industries, including construction, education, energy, environmental, medical devices and software.

“The US remains an attractive market for client companies,” said Sean Davis, regional director North America, Enterprise Ireland.

“Better connectivity has played a huge part and shouldn’t be overlooked. All entrepreneurs want to be able to get to their destination in one hop, so the fact that we have direct flights going to Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Boston and to a number of locations on the west coast has been beneficial.”

According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, the value of Ireland’s foreign direct investment (FDI) was calculated at over $85 billion (€69bn) in 2017, ranking Ireland the ninth largest source of FDI.

“For a country the size of Ireland, the fact that we’re scoring so highly for FDI from Irish-origin companies in the US is incredible,” said Mr Davis.

“We are definitely boxing way above our weight division in terms of our economic impact in the country, but we’re also creating high quality jobs with the likes of Kerry Group employing almost 1,000 people at its R&D centre in Beloit, Wisconsin, and Icon Clinical employing hundreds of technicians across the states.”

Success stories

Mr Davis also highlighted a number of other recent success stories, including Limerick-based agri-tech company BHSL, which entered the US market in mid-2016 after agreeing a €3 million pilot project with the state of Maryland to use its waste-to-energy system.

Enterprise Ireland itself operates from offices in New York; Boston; Austin, Texas; Chicago, and Mountain View, California.

In addition to funding support, the body also provide assistance with R&D, as well as access to a network of industry-specific contacts.

Mr Davis said the body was looking at establishing a presence in other locations in the US in the coming years. “There is plenty more we can do in terms of scoping out opportunities for Irish companies.”

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