Ireland named best country for high-value FDI for sixth year in a row

Country continues to lead the world for value from foreign direct investment

Ireland has been named the best country in the world for attracting high-value foreign direct investments for the sixth year in a row.

IBM’s 2017 Global Locations Trends report says Ireland continues to lead on value coming top of a list that also includes Denmark, Singapore, the Netherlands, Hungary, Sweden, Japan, Costa Rica, Switzerland and Hong Kong.

“International competition for investment has never been more intense,” said Martin Shanahan, chief executive of IDA Ireland. “Ireland being named as the best country for high-value FDI for six years in a row is excellent news and will assist us greatly when making the case for Ireland in boardrooms across the world.”

According to the report, global foreign direct investment (FDI) levels increased significantly last year with the numbers of jobs created as a result rising by 10 per cent, its strongest level in a decade.


India took the top spot for attracting foreign investment, replacing the US, which had led for the past four years. Mexico was named in third spot after FDI inflows jumped by almost 25 per cent. China and Thailand round out the top five.

Knock-on effect

The latest report shows Brexit is beginning to have an impact, with the UK experiencing a decline in the level of its inward investment performance. The knock-on effect of this is that there was a 13 per cent drop in the number of related jobs created in 2016.

In contrast, many other European countries, particularly in eastern Europe, recorded strong levels of FDI last year.

“Notwithstanding a general positive trend and growth in FDI in Europe, countries with fundamental structural weaknesses in their competitive position saw deteriorating performance,” the report says.

The vast majority of the growth in global FDI last year was driven by companies in the US and Germany. Firms in China and South Korea also significantly increased their foreign investment activity, while Japanese companies reduced their internationalisation efforts.

Transport equipment (and in particular cars) continues to be the leading sector for global FDI, followed by tourism, ICT, chemicals and business services.

“IDA Ireland will continue to target blue-chip companies and the next wave of high growth companies in the coming years and capitalise on Ireland’s position as one of the top destinations in the world for foreign direct investment,” said Mr Shanahan.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist