Ireland and the U.S.: Partners for Prosperity

Friday, February 2, 2018 - 2:00pm
By Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The ‘next parish over’ is how previous generations of Irish men and women described their connections to the U.S. With over 32 million Americans claiming Irish descent, the bonds of affection between the two countries remain deep. Forged over centuries from the flow of Irish emigrants to the U.S., these bonds have been nurtured and strengthened over succeeding generations through familial ties, culture, politics, and of course through our intertwined economies.

Today, our historic partnership is poised for an even brighter future, thanks to our common values, shared interests, and joint commitment to free enterprise.

Over the course of the past several decades, Ireland has emerged as a world leader in R&D and high-value manufacturing. Ireland is also on the cutting edge of the digital economy. In this context, Ireland is among the most attractive destinations for American investment. Ireland has one of the world’s most open economies. Through its access to the EU single market, a competitive tax regime, and by embracing globalisation, Ireland has become a centre for global trade in both goods and services that delivers substantial value for foreign investors.

Recent years have seen increased challenges to our free enterprise approach, which has greatly benefited our citizens, companies, and consumers alike. Free trade has fuelled our shared prosperity, but it is now being challenged on both sides of the Atlantic by those who view globalization as a threat. Against that backdrop, our respective business communities must strongly champion the benefits of trade, investment, and innovation.

In the context of Brexit, it is clear that Ireland will become even more important as a bridge for U.S. policymakers to Europe and for U.S. companies seeking access to the EU market. The Brexit challenge will also require closer collaboration between the American and Irish business communities, especially as Ireland becomes increasingly important in the decision-making process in Brussels. Many U.S. firms use Ireland as a gateway to access the EU and other international markets, and will continue to do so no matter how Brexit ultimately turns out.

With our shared history and our inextricably linked economies, Ireland and the U.S. developed a deep and enduring economic partnership. We look forward to continuing to seek out opportunities and to meet future challenges together.

Thomas J. Donohue is CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Danny McCoy is CEO of Ibec, the group that represents Irish business.

You can read the piece in its entirety on Ireland's Sunday Business Post website. The piece originally ran on January 28, 2018.