Ireland is a Republican State, having gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1922.  Ireland, or the Republic of Ireland (with a population of 4.7 million inhabitants) is a small, modern, trade-dependent economy.  In the wake of the collapse of the construction sector during the economic crisis, the export sector, dominated by foreign multi-nationals, has become a key component of Ireland’s economy.  Furthermore, agriculture, once the most important sector, is now preceded by industry and services.   Ireland’s vision, however, up until the year 2020 is to recognize its agri-business (agri-food & fisheries sector) as a key driver for an export-led economic recovery.  This vision will also place a renewed focus on mature sectors in Ireland (tourism, retail & wholesale, construction).

SMEs dominate the industry sector in Ireland. Ireland has a strong tech based sector linked to SME start-ups & entrepreneurship and the Irish are globally minded in this context.  Furthermore, the top 10 global technology companies are based in Ireland.  The capital city of Dublin serves as the European headquarters for a number of USA tech firms including Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

Other important Irish industry sectors include:- pharmaceuticals, chemicals, computer hardware & software, food products, beverages and brewing, and medical devices. Ireland is the 2nd largest exporter of medical devices in Europe.  10 of the world’s top selling prescription drugs are made in Ireland.

Companies involved in a wide range of activities in sectors as diverse as engineering, ICT, pharmaceutical/medical and research & development view Ireland as a uniquely attractive location to do business.  Over recent years, USA investment into Ireland has been greater than USA investment into Russia, Brazil, China and India combined.  The country’s highly competitive corporate tax rate of 12.5% provides Ireland with a strong incentive for foreign investment.

Before doing business in Ireland, it is essential to be aware of key concepts and values related to Irish culture. Doing business successfully in Ireland requires an understanding of local business culture and etiquette to avoid pitfalls which could potentially translate into a loss of business.

Isabel Wilkins

Business Consultant
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