Ireland ranked as one of the best for industrial competitiveness

A number of new studies published today show Ireland doing well on the global stage

A number of new studies have ranked Ireland in terms of its competitiveness, connectedness and repuation

A number of new studies have ranked Ireland in terms of its competitiveness, connectedness and repuation


Ireland is one of four EU Member States with high and improving industrial competitiveness, according to a new report published by the European Commission.

The study ranks Ireland alongside the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark as Member States which are doing particularly well in terms of competitiveness.

“Ireland’s domestic economy is growing and creating jobs again. Business - crucially including SMEs - and consumer confidence is returning. Ireland is successfully competing internationally and it has an excellent business environment,” the report concludes.

“However, the very large public and private sector debt burden remains a severe drag on growth and key challenges remain in areas such as restoring credit channels for SMEs; strengthening activation mechanisms; tackling skills mismatches; reducing business (including legal) costs and increasing competition,” it adds.

Two further reports published on Thursday suggest Ireland continues to punch above its weight on the global stage.

A new study from the consultancy firm McKinsey reveals that Ireland is the 14h most connected country in the world in terms of global flows of goods, services, people, capital and data. The report warns though that too few Irish companies are scaling up and competing globally, and it cautions against relying on low tax rates to capture future long-term investors, as this strategy is too easily replicated by other countries.

The ‘Capturing the value of Ireland’s global connections’ report shows that Ireland’s high connectedness ranking depends excessively on huge licensing and royalty fees, which it said pass through the country without necessarily creating much in the way of local jobs or productive investment.

The report adds that three-quarters of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Ireland comes from the US and UK. But it advises the Government to do more to attract operations from emerging markets, which it notes, will likely account for more than 45 per cent of Fortune Global 500 companies by 2025.

It warns that Ireland’s mix of trading partners has not changed significantly over the past two decades, with North America and the rest of the European Union still accounting for some 80 per cent of its goods and services trade in 2012. It said that as the world rebalances toward China and other emerging markets, Ireland will need to rebalance with it.

“Today the global economy is more digital and interconnected than ever before. Countries are exchanging fast-moving, high-value flows of people, goods, services, capital and data, and they’re increasing at an exponential rate,” said Conor Jones, a partner in McKinsey’s Dublin office. “By rethinking its global strategy, Ireland can take advantage of this global phenomenon in a way that creates greater economic stability and lasting benefits at home.”

Separately, another study has ranked Ireland in 13th place out of 55 countries in terms of its reputation.

While Ireland has dropped one place from 12th place last year, it improved its score, rising from 67.6 out of 100 in 2013 to 68.5 in 2014.

According to the report, which was compiled by the Reputation Institute and its Irish counterpart, the Reputations Agency, Ireland was ranked ahead of the UK, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and the US in the study.

Ireland was ranked as low as 26th place in the 2009 Country RepTrak study, which measures countries on levels of trust, esteem, admiration and respect.

Of the 16 attributes measured, the most important attribute in driving the reputation of a country is “Friendly and welcoming people”, where Ireland was ranked in ninth position, up two positions since 2013.

Having a “Safe environment” comes second in importance and here Ireland was ranked in 14th position. Ireland was ranked in eighth position under the criteria “Is a beautiful country” - the third most important attribute in driving a country’s reputation.

The study ranked Switzerland as the country with the best reputation in the world, followed by Canada, Sweden, Finland, Australia, Norway, Denmark, New Zealand, Netherlands and Germany. Nigeria, Pakistan and Iran are the lowest rated countries in the study.