US investment in Ireland totals $310bn, report finds

As a destination for US investment, Ireland is bigger than Latin America and China

US investment in Ireland surged to a record $58.1 billion in 2014, accounting for more than 20 per cent of total US investment flows to Europe.

The figure was contained in a report on the Irish-US economic relationship commissioned by the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland.

It cites data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), which puts total US investment in Ireland as of 2014 at $310 billion.

This makes Ireland, as a destination for US investment, bigger than many regions of the world, including Latin America ($139 billion), Central America ($118 billion), China ($66billion), Africa ($64 billion), and the Middle East ($52 billion).


The report was launched on Thursday at the American Chamber’s annual president’s lunch event.

Author Joseph Quinlan told The Irish Times that the key finding of his study was that while US investment in the EU was "at best stagnant", US multinationals were deepening their investment Ireland.

He said there was a “bundle of attributes” related to Ireland which continued to attract US firms. “It is not one variable but many variables-a package of attributes and endowments-that account for Ireland being among the most attractive destinations in the world for US foreign direct investment,” he said.

Chief among them are the State’s fast-growing economy, its wealth in human capital and its pro-business policies, Mr Quinlan said.

The report does not refer to the OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (Beps) project and its possible effect on US investment here but describes the State’s low corporation tax rate as a “cornerstone” for foreign firms.

Mr Quinlan said the pace of Ireland’s recovery, with gross domestic product now expanding at 6 per cent annually, had surprised most international observers.

“Ireland’s turnaround reflects the resilience of the economy and Ireland’s adaptability, flexibility and foresight to ever-changing and challenging circumstances, traits that are very attractive to US multinationals.”

In his report, Mr Quinlan cites recent investment announcements by Oracle, LinkedIn, Workday and Apple as evidence of deepening economic ties.

He also highlighted the cutting edge nature of Ireland’s foreign direct investment (FDI), which was being driven by life sciences, social media and telecommunications

“Ireland is doing a very good job of tapping into the global growth drivers by company and by sector,” he said.

On the other side of the ledger, Ireland’s investment stakes in the US are significant as well, with Irish affiliates estimated to have generated some $90 billion in affiliate sales from their US operations in 2014 and $35 billion in US economic output.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times