The USA is Ireland’s biggest trading partner and our largest merchandise export market. In 2011, the total exports of goods and services from Ireland to the USA amounted to €27.4 billion. Goods and services imported to Ireland from the USA in the same year amounted to €30.8 billion. The USA is the second largest export market for Irish-owned companies. There are currently approximately 900 such companies exporting to the USA, with approximately 320 having some form of presence in the market, ranging from a single-person sales office to manufacturing operations with thousands of employees. The exports of these companies are crucial in maintaining and growing jobs in every county of Ireland.
Enterprise Ireland has three offices in the United States, in New York, Boston and Silicon Valley. These offices provide a number of support services to Irish exporting companies, including helping them to understand distribution channels and supply chain dynamics and troubleshooting on operational and logistical issues where necessary. The personnel in these offices also facilitate introductions to relevant buyers, provide access to expert advice from mentors and advisory boards, many of whom are drawn from the Irish diaspora, and facilitate the visit of key US procurement and buying personnel to Ireland. Enterprise Ireland's international selling programme, its potential exporters support programme and its leadership4growth programme prepare clients to operate in the US market as well as raising awareness of Irish CEOs of business culture and practices in the USA.
During 2012, Enterprise Ireland provided individual customised services to 645 companies, which resulted in contracts being won with 155 new customers and assisted 58 Irish companies to establish a presence in the USA. In 2012, also, over 450 Irish exporting companies participated in 16 Enterprise Ireland organised trade fares targeted at US buyers, while 122 US buyers visited Ireland at the invitation of Enterprise Ireland to meet Irish clients.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House
With regard to IDA Ireland-supported companies, it must be borne in mind that US companies establish a presence in Ireland to enable them to grow their international markets. Consequently, over 77% of exports from such companies go to non-US markets, principally Europe and Asia, with 23% going to North America.
To attract inward investment and develop and expand Ireland’s exports across a wide range of sectors, I have led seven Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland trade missions to the US since March 2011. These missions raise Ireland’s profile as a world class supplier of goods and services and contribute to the generation of quality employment.
The advancement of a free trade agreement between the US and the EU is one of Ireland’s priorities during the Irish Presidency of the EU. I intend to focus my efforts on facilitating the advancement of the EU-US trade agenda as a priority item and, to this end, I will be hosting a trade ministerial conference, informal council, dedicated to this agenda in Dublin in April.