The reduction in foreign direct investment (FDI) referenced in last year's UNCTAD report relates to the movement of cash assets following the enactment of the US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in late 2017. While I understand some US firms in Ireland have repatriated such financial resources since that legislation came into force, there has been little discernible impact on their actual operations here.
I understand that the figure referred to of €106 billion represents only a preliminary estimate. Finalised figures from UNCTAD will be made available later in the year.
I am confident, despite recent changes to the American taxation system, that US and international firms will continue to locate or expand further in Ireland. Our strengths – including our pro-enterprise policy environment, highly-educated workforce and competitive taxation regime – remain attractive to international investors. Indeed, the IDA’s record results for 2018 reflect an active and healthy pipeline of investment into the country. The Agency, for example, secured 265 investments for 2018 compared with 237 for 2017. Total employment in IDA client firms now stands at approximately 230,000.
Despite these positive FDI trends, the Government is focused on our need to remain as competitive as possible. A new five-year strategy for IDA Ireland, for example, will be prepared this year to ensure the Agency remains able to compete for, and secure, more first-rate investment projects and to meet other challenges ahead. The Government will also continue working to make sure that Ireland remains a favoured destination for high-quality and job-rich investment projects.