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News : Irish Economy Last Updated: Jun 28, 2011 - 12:00 PM

Ireland offers US multinationals attractive incentives: Competitive Tax Regime, English speaking, skilled workforce/ ease of access
By Finfacts Team
May 23, 2011 - 5:38 AM

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A report published in June 2010 showed that Ireland dropped one place to 10th in a ranking of the most attractive destinations for foreign direct investment (FDI) in Europe in 2009; click for the 8th annual Ernst & Young European Attractiveness Survey

Coinciding with President Obama’s visit, research launched today by Matheson Ormsby Prentice (MOP), Ireland’s biggest law firm, reveals that US sentiment towards Ireland as a place to do business remains 'one of the strongest in the world.' The MOP FDI Index reveals that the most positive attributes identified by US corporations considering Ireland as a location of choice for foreign direct investment (FDI) are its competitive tax regime, English-speaking and skilled workforce, ease of access, and Government incentives.

Launched today and to be updated every six months, 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 it.

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

Liam Quirke, Managing Partner at Matheson Ormsby Prentice, commented: “The findings of the survey overall are extremely positive. 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 7 years, is an endorsement of the strength of the relationship between the two countries.”

Quirke continued, “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.”

Key Findings of The MOP FDI Index:

  • The most positive attributes identified as important by US corporations considering Ireland as a location for FDI: competitive tax regime (29%), English speaking (21%), ease of access from North America (18%), Government incentives (17%), skilled workforce (17%);
  • The negative attributes identified by US corporations considering Ireland as a location for FDI: national financial instability (20%), inefficient Government (17%), instability in Eurozone (15%), remote location and restricted access (9%);
  • 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.

Matheson Ormsby Prentice (MOP) opened its first US office 15 years ago in Palo Alto in California and is the only Irish law firm with a presence on both the East and West Coasts of the US.

The Wall Street Journal reported in 2005 (pdf) from Dublin: "A law firm's office on a quiet downtown street here houses an obscure subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. that helps the computer giant shave at least $500 million from its annual tax bill.

The four-year-old subsidiary, Round Island One Ltd., has a thin roster of employees but controls more than $16 billion in Microsoft assets. Virtually unknown in Ireland, on paper it has quickly become one of the country's biggest companies, with gross profits of nearly
$9 billion in 2004.

Ireland's citizens may not have heard of Round Island One, but they benefit greatly from its presence. Last year the unit handed the government of this small country of four million citizens more than $300 million in taxes."

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