US investment in Ireland totalled $129bn over five years

Figure for FDI is about 14 times what the US firms invest in China

US firms invested $129.5 billion in Ireland over the five years to 2012, about 14 times what the firms invest in China, a new report from the American Chamber said today.

Ireland was the fourth largest recipient of foreign direct investment from the US in 2012, and rose 1 per cent to $22.8 billion, outperforming the general trends in Europe where US investment fell by 17.5 per cent.

The figures showed that over the five year period from 2008 to 2012, the level of US investment in Ireland was more than the previous 58 years combined.

This comes despite a global recession that has seen the world’s major economies struggle, with unemployment rates rising.

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"Ireland has become hugely important for the success of corporate America over the past five years", said Peter Keegan, president of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland. "Corporate America's FDI stock in Ireland is now equal to the combined stock in France and Germany and it's nearly 20 per cent larger than the aggregate US stock in the four BRIC nations of Brazil, Russia, India and China".

The figures were contained in a report compiled for the American Chamber of Commerce.

“Ireland now ranks the number one export platform in the world for US affiliates,” report author Joesph Quinlan said. “This underscores the importance of Ireland in the global value chains of US firms. Corporate America’s presence in Ireland is also tangible, visible, palpable, material, physical and concrete making Ireland a hugely important strategic cog in the global operations of many of the world’s top corporations.”

Minister forJjobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton stressed the importance of US investment to the Irish economy.

“Deepening and developing our economic ties with the United States will be crucial for our economic recovery and forms a major part of the Government’s plans for jobs and growth,” he said.

“Challenges remain for Irish companies doing business in the US, but it is important to recognise that such companies employ well over 100,000 people there.”

The report comes after prominent US firms Twitter, TripAdvisor and Qualtrics announced they would invest further to expand in Ireland.

“Our ability to continue to provide a vibrant talent pool is crucially dependent not only on continuing investment in the education and training of our young people but also on our ability to retain the talent here in this country and to attract the talented people in from overseas when required,” Mr Keegan said. “In many cases this will mean providing opportunities for Irish graduates to return home to work here. However, we have to accept that the current levels of personal taxation in this country make the task of retaining and attracting talent that bit more difficult.”

He called on the Government to “think hard” about personal tax levels and their implications for Ireland’s future competitiveness as an FDI location.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist