Discusses key economic indicators and trade statistics, which countries are dominant in the market, the U.S. market share, the political situation if relevant, the top reasons why U.S. companies should consider exporting to this country, and other issues that affect trade, e.g., terrorism, currency devaluations, trade agreements.
Last Published: 1/13/2017

With a GDP of $243 billion in 2015, Ireland is one of the most open, FDI and export-driven economies in the world.  On the back of a recovering economy, Ireland remains a wealthy country and a net exporting nation with a per capita GDP in 2015 of $44,084.

Buoyed by a revitalized domestic economy and a strong export sector, GDP in Ireland increased by an underlying 7.8 percent in 2015 making it the highest and best performing economy in the EU.  Ireland’s economy is forecast to grow by over 3 percent in 2016 due to increased exports and domestic spending and demand.

As tangible signs of a growing and sustainable economic recovery continue, job creation remains a priority for the Irish government with current unemployment under 8 percent from a high of 15.1 percent in early 2012.

The U.S. and Ireland enjoy a close cultural affinity and longstanding political, economic, and commercial relations.   The U.S.-Ireland commercial (trade and investment) relationship is significant by international standards, and is particularly impressive relative to the country’s population of 4.67 million people.

In 2015, U.S. exports to Ireland exceeded $8.9 billion (€7.9 billion) and included chemicals and pharmaceuticals, computers and electronic products, aircraft and transportation equipment, power generation technology, medical devices, electrical equipment and travel and tourism.

The U.S.-Ireland investment relationship is particularly noteworthy.  The total stock of U.S. investment in Ireland reached $343.4 billion in 2015 – more than the U.S. investment in France and Germany combined.  There are over 700 U.S. firms in Ireland which currently employ 140,000 people.

In 2015, Ireland’s investment in the U.S. by indigenous companies was valued at $13.5 billion, with an additional $187 billion by ultimate beneficial owner (UBO), making Ireland the 6th largest source of FDI into the U.S.  Irish firms employ over 200,000 in the U.S. in over 300 companies across sectors such as Agri-food, construction, ICT and professional services.

U.S. Embassy, Dublin works closely with local partners including the American Chamber of Commerce, Irish Exporters Association, Irish government agencies and national and local business associations to advance the U.S. Irish economic relationship and forge joint prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic.
Top reasons why U.S. companies should consider exporting to Ireland:
U.S. companies can take advantage of the fact that Ireland is the only European market that is a member of the EU, a member of the Eurozone and English speaking.  The advantage of a common language together with educated, savvy, and well-connected business partners in a pro-business environment lends itself to increased chance of success.  Upon the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, Ireland will be the largest English-speaking country in the EU.

Ireland has, for the past number of years, been the fastest growing economy in Europe. Continued economic recovery is expected to fuel increased demand for U.S. products and services. 

Ireland is an excellent test market for U.S. SMEs looking to export for the first time into Europe.  Ireland’s strategic geographical location also positions the country as a gateway to Europe with access to a wider market of 740 million people.

The Irish government is looking to increase its international competitiveness by establishing Ireland as a center for high value research and development.  Opportunities exist for innovative U.S. companies to enter into collaborative agreements with Irish companies particularly in biotechnology, financial services, ICT, medical devices, pharmaceuticals and avail of opportunities as the EU advances its creation of a Digital Single Market.

Ireland’s high receptivity for U.S. products and services creates a fertile market for American brands across sectors.  U.S. goods are perceived to be of high quality and U.S. companies receive positive support from local partners, helping to further export goals for Ireland and the European marketplace.

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.

Ireland Trade Development and Promotion