Irish firms' have 'unparalleled opportunity' for US growth

Irish businesses have been urged to invest in the US market, with states in the American heartland seen as ripe for growth.

US deputy ambassador to Ireland, charge d'affaires Reece Smyth, said investing in American states provided "great growth strategy" for Irish firms.

He was speaking as the US Embassy led its largest-ever delegation to Washington DC to the SelectUSA Investment Summit this week.

The Embassy said Ireland is currently the ninth largest investor in the US, with Irish firms employing over 100,000 people across all 50 states.

There were more than 450 Irish firms across agri-food, construction, tech and professional services last year, according to SelectUSA figures.

Since 2017, participants at the summit have announced more than $1.2bn (€1.06bn) in new investment projects, creating nearly 5,000 jobs across 12 states, it said.

Mr Smyth has repeatedly urged Irish firms to consider the “vast” opportunities in the US heartland, away from the traditional locations on the east and west coasts.

"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 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," he said previously.

Advisor to the President, Ivanka Trump and National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow will deliver keynote remarks at the SelectUSA summit, which is hosted by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

Ms Trump said the summit offered an "unparalleled opportunity to invest in our roaring economy".

Featured speakers include Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, and governors from eight states.

Commerce Under Secretary Gilbert Kaplan said:

"Global companies clearly see the benefits of investing in the world’s largest economy. A lower corporate tax rate, fewer regulations, and renewed confidence in the American market have created the opportunity for further global investment."

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

Matt Moynahan said: "Every state is trying to expand, particularly with cloud.”

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