Ireland’s Innovation surfs global change
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Ireland’s innovation surfs the waves of global change
Mark Redmond tells Des O’Sullivan says US companies invest in Ireland because they consider the people here to be creative, innovative and solution orientated.
In a world of rapid regime change is the small open Irish economy about to take a major jobs and investment hit or can we surf the waves of future shock and global uncertainty?
Mark Redmond remains ambitious for the prospects of continuing US investment in this country.
The chief executive of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland argues: “Ireland remains a really really attractive place in which to invest and do business. The US Ireland business relationship has never been as strong in both directions”.
This important message comes against a background where American investment of $343 billion in Ireland exceeds the combined US investment in South America, Africa and the Middle East.
US investment in South America is $131 billion, it is $64bn in Africa and $49bn in the Middle East. Does this not make us especially vulnerable to the global winds of change; to President Trump’s objectives of bringing US jobs back to the US and slashing corporate taxes from 35% to 15%?
Mark Redmond argues that his confidence for the future success of the Ireland US business relationship is neither complacent nor naive. The facts are that investment in Ireland has been good for the US and good for US business.
“We constantly hear that the successful track record of the Irish operations of US companies has helped them do better business in global markets,” he said.
Now is the time for people to focus on what is in our control. We have a strong track record and what is in our control is to ensure that the conditions and ingredients that have made Ireland such a successful location are maintained.
We continue to do what we are doing well and continue to make Ireland an attractive place in which to live and work and improve the road network.
“You focus on the key pieces” he said. “Our amazing people who have a reputation for being unbelievably solution orientated, creative and innovative. The people who have re-located to Ireland because of our reputation for creating globally leading products and services.
“We need to make sure that Ireland continues to be a good place for them to live. When you talk to business leaders on both sides of the Atlantic, they say the number one reason for Ireland’s success is the talent that is here and the talent that has been attracted here.”
We have the skill base and the expertise. The pharmaceutical companies here, for example, have an outstanding record of compliance with the stringent requirements of the US Federal Drugs Administration and this is very valuable.
And at the end of the day people will still need the medical stents and ventilators that are made in Ireland with such precision. Mark Redmond said that President Trump’s commerce secretary Wilbur Ross has said that he is pro trade and pro sensible trade.
The new commerce secretary has an intimate knowledge of Ireland, has been an investor in Bank of Ireland, knows about the successful Irish operations of US companies here and the strengths that Ireland can offer.
Ross is expected to be an unusually influential member of Trump’s new business orientated team and is just one of a number of members of that team who know Ireland well.
Mark Redmond believes that at times like now this country needs to play to its strengths. “If you have done something brilliantly for decades then you don’t start doubting yourself. Let’s make sure we remind the world of just how unbelievably successful US investment in Ireland has been.”
In the minds of potential investors Ireland scores very high in matters like taxation, economics, workforce policy, a guaranteed supply of energy, our judicial system and our stable parliamentary democracy.
Furthermore Irish companies such as Glanbia, the Kerry Group, CRH, Voxpro and many more are creating almost as many jobs in the US as the US is creating here. In 2016 nearly 150,000 people were directly employed in over 700 US firms in Ireland.
And Irish companies directly employ an estimated 120,000 people within 227 companies at over 2,600 locations in all 50 States across the USA.
In the wake of Brexit the Irish government is optimistic that banking and financial services jobs will re-locate to this country from the City of London. The gains we are to make in this sector will become apparent by the middle of this year.
Mark Redmond highlighted the fact that when Britain leaves the European Union, Ireland will be the only member of the EU where the first working language is English.
We are a gateway to the EU, a country where the approach is pro enterprise and flexible and already the possessor of a strong and dynamic financial services sector. Clearly everyone is looking to see where things develop with Brexit, but Ireland has much to offer.
He applauded the stated objective of the government that Ireland will have the best education system in the EU by 2026. The role of the Irish government at the EU table at Brexit negotiations is of fundamental importance especially insofar as it relates to maintaining free movement of people and close linkages between the two islands.
US foreign direct investment in Ireland was at an all time high in 2016. It was a year when international services, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and financial services all show significant employment increases.
We have much to gain by maintaining the focus of our national reputation as a centre of global excellence.
- Mark Redmond is the American Chamber of CommerceIreland CEO