Ireland - Market OverviewIreland - Market Overview
The United Sates and Ireland enjoy a close cultural affinity and longstanding political, economic, and commercial relations. The U.S.-Ireland commercial (trade and investment) relationship worth $720 billon is significant by international standards and is particularly impressive relative to the country’s population of 4.76 million people.
With a GDP of $345 billion in 2017, 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 2017 of $72,485.
Buoyed by a revitalized domestic economy and a strong export sector, GDP in Ireland increased by an underlying 7.8 percent in 2017 making it the highest and best performing economy in the EU for the fourth straight year. Ireland’s economy is forecast to grow by between 5 and 7 percent in 2018 based on an expected increase in exports, and solid domestic spending and demand. Estimates for 2019 growth are uniformly lower, although still robust, in part due to the unknown impact of Brexit on the Irish economy.
As tangible signs of a growing and sustainable economic recovery continue, job creation remains a priority for the Irish government with current unemployment at 5.4 percent from a high of 15.1 percent in early 2012. This is the first time the figure has fallen below 6 percent in a decade.
In 2017, U.S. exports of goods to Ireland exceeded $10.8 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 most recent statistics for services from 2016 record the value of U.S. service exports to Ireland at $46.6 billion.
The over-sized U.S.-Ireland investment relationship is particularly noteworthy. The total stock of U.S. investment in Ireland reached $446.4 billion in 2017. There are over 700 U.S. firms in Ireland which currently employ 155,000 people representing 20% of total employment in the country and supporting another 100,000 jobs indirectly.
In 2017, Ireland’s total investment stock in the U.S. was valued at $147.85 billion, making Ireland the 9th largest source of FDI into the U.S. Irish firms employ more than 100,000 in the U.S. in over 450 companies across a wide range of 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 Business & Employers Confederation, Enterprise Ireland and other Irish government and national agencies together with 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. There is the advantage of a common language together with educated and well-connected business partners in a pro-business environment. Upon the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, Ireland will be the only English-speaking country in the European Union.
Ireland has, for the past number of years, been the fastest growing economy in Europe. Continued economic growth is expected to fuel increased demand for U.S. products and services. Growth however will be shaped by the type of Brexit withdrawal agreement that takes place post March 2019 and what the future trading relationship will look like post the U.K.’s exit from the EU.
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 around an advanced knowledge economy. Its priority is to ensure the development of a highly skilled workforce which will meet the demands of Industry 4.0.
Opportunities exist for innovative U.S. companies to enter into collaborative agreements with Irish companies particularly across Cybersecurity, ICT and Smart Cities, Energy encompassing LNG and SmartGrid, Healthcare services and Medical Devices and Travel & Tourism.
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.
Ireland Trade Development and Promotion