Irish companies urged to invest in US heartland

by Padraig Hoare

Irish firms are being urged to invest in the US, with American political and business leaders insisting there are “vast” opportunities in the US heartland, away from the traditional locations on the east and west coasts.

Reece Smyth, the acting US ambassador to Ireland, chargé d’affaires, said the embassy was working with Enterprise Ireland to bring more inward Irish investment to the US following a record year in 2017.

He said: “When people are looking at the US, a lot of focus is on maybe Boston or Chicago. However, we have a vast country, there are a lot of opportunities out there. We have set up an an office in the embassy which is working closely with Enterprise Ireland and what we can offer large and small firms to carry out business in the US. We can help wade through some of the state regulations, make contacts, and more.

The Republic is the ninth largest foreign direct investor into the US, he said.

The US Bureau of Economic Analysis has calculated Irish firms generated almost €70m in the US last year.

Mr Smyth said: “Enterprise Ireland statistics show 80,000 jobs were created by Irish companies last year in the US. This year they are talking about 100,000.

That is huge. What is changing is the investment into Ireland from the US is now becoming a two-way street. It is to the mutual benefit of both countries.

The chief executive of Texan cybersecurity firm Forcepoint, which opened a Cork office with 100 jobs last week, said states like Texas, Wisconsin, and Iowa had huge opportunities for Irish business, especially in tech.

Matt Moynahan said: “You are seeing the US change. We now have Silicon Alley in New York, every state is trying to expand, particularly with cloud.”

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