|President Obama and staff in Istanbul, Turkey, April 06, 2009
The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan, T.D., today commences a week-long intensive trade and foreign direct investment mission to the West Coast of the United States. The visit, which will include stops in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Portland, will see the Coughlan "target" companies in the ICT (Information, Communication, Technology) and financial services sectors for investment and job creation in Ireland.
The former social worker who assumed responsibility for Irish enterprise policy last May, said: “Foreign direct investment from the United States will continue to play a key role in creating new jobs in Ireland over the coming years.
“Ireland is home to 464 US companies employing over 94,000 people and the contribution made by companies from the US West Coast cannot be underestimated, particularly in the ICT sector. Our continued funding commitment to research, development and innovation activities is a key pull factor that ensures they establish and maintain operations in Ireland as their preferred strategic location for Europe and the EMEA region.”
Coughlan said, last week’s Budget made provision for in excess of €500 million for capital investment in enterprise. This is funding made available to companies both at home and abroad that are working to create and maintain jobs in Ireland. "A significant portion of this funding is leveraged to attract overseas companies into Ireland to create jobs," she said.
Coughlan added: “By putting this level of resources in place last week, the Government proiritised investment in the most productive sectors of our economy and has invested in the creation of jobs by cementing the foundation for export led recovery and growth.
“The message I will bring to US boardrooms this week is that Ireland is open for business, open for investment and open for job creation. This Government, through IDA Ireland, is committed to building on our already strong and productive relationships with companies who have established partnerships with Ireland and to creating new investment opportunities with potential investors.
“With the youngest population in Europe - over 40% percent under the age of 25 - and an educational system ranked fifth in the world in the way it meets the needs of a competitive economy, Ireland's unique workforce is a further key pull factor for US companies. In addition, Ireland's low corporate tax rate and flexible work practices remain a bedrock for attracting foreign direct investment.”
During her visit to the West Coast, the Tánaiste will also present the Irish Technology Leaders Silicon Valley Awards 2009 at a function in Stanford University.
On completion of her visit to the West Coast, Coughlan said she will travel to Washington D.C. for a series of bi-lateral and political meetings with key members of the US Administration and of Congress.