Ireland the best place in world for US multinationals to do business

23 May 2011

Ireland’s offering to US multinationals remains one of strongest in the world, a new report by law firm Matheson Ormsby Prentice has revealed. The country’s competitive tax regime, its English-speaking population and ease of access are most attractive attributes.

The most positive attributes identified as important by US corporations considering Ireland as a location for FDI are Ireland’s competitive tax regime (29pc), English speaking (21pc), ease of access from North America (18pc), Government incentives (17pc), and skilled workforce (17pc).

The negative attributes identified by US corporations considering Ireland as a location for FDI include national financial instability (20pc), inefficient Government (17pc), instability in the Euro zone (15pc), remote location and restricted access (9pc).

When compared with other European, Asian, Middle Eastern and African countries, Ireland scored the best when it came to corporate tax rates, corporate tax regime, interest rates, government incentives, physical infrastructure and IT environment and access to a pool of local skilled labour at appropriate levels

Coinciding with US President Barack Obama’s visit to Ireland, the MOP FDI Index, compiled by Amarách Research, surveyed 250 top Irish-American business leaders in the US and investigated their perceptions of Ireland as a place to invest, their attitudes towards foreign direct investment and the factors affecting FDI.

The survey shows that 58pc rated Ireland as a “good” place to do business, while one-third, (32pc) said they would be “likely” to set up operations in Ireland. Some 37pc of those surveyed said their attitude towards setting up operations in Ireland had become more positive in the last five years.

“The findings of the survey overall are extremely positive,” said Liam Quirke, managing partner at Matheson Ormsby Prentice.

“FDI is the cornerstone upon which our economic recovery is dependent. Ireland’s profile and reputation has taken a real battering in the midst of the global financial and economic crisis.

“Both domestically and internationally, many have focused on the negative; this does not tell the full story.

“FDI in Ireland has remained very active and the results of the inaugural MOP FDI Index confirm that despite the period of global recession over the past two years, Ireland’s offering to US multinational corporations remains one of the strongest in the world. President Obama’s imminent visit to Ireland, the first by a US President in seven years, is an endorsement of the strength of the relationship between the two countries.”

Highly skilled workforce

Quirke said Ireland continues to have access to a highly skilled workforce while cost competitiveness has improved.

“Ireland has also built a critical mass of firms in a number of important industries, such as financial services, pharmaceuticals, technology and internet services (including most recently, cloud computing), which in turn makes Ireland attractive for further investment in these areas.”

Quirke said all the negative publicity and attention caused by the banking crisis should not detract from the very real achievements in the Irish economy over the last 20 years, primarily driven by its success in attracting FDI.

“Ireland has continued to provide the best business environment in Europe for US corporations looking to access the EU Internal Market.

“The growth and development of multinationals, with their strong focus on high-value goods and services exports, is fundamental to the Irish economy and is an essential component of Ireland’s economic recovery. Ireland’s future economic success will depend to a great extent on its ability to sustain an attractive habitat for FDI.”

Matheson Ormsby Prentice (MOP) opened its first US office 15 years ago in Palo Alto, California, and is the only Irish law firm with a presence on both the east and west coasts of the US. The firm has also recently announced a significant expansion of its New York office, making it the largest Irish law firm in the US.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years