Our unique relationship with America benefits both countries
IRELAND is shaping up for another record year of foreign direct investment, with US firms in particular playing a big part.
More than 115,000 people are directly employed in over 700 US firms in Ireland.
Those firms have invested $204bn here - that's 9pc of all US investment in the EU and 4.5pc worldwide - but it appears our business interests are mutual. Some 227 Irish companies are responsible for the direct employment of over 130,000 people in 2,600 locations across 50 US states. Those investments are worth $25bn.
The American Chamber of Commerce Ireland celebrated Independence Day honouring those business links and calling for a successful EU-US trade deal.
Chief executive Mark Redmond said landing a good deal for Ireland will bring further significant investment and jobs.
"There is enormous potential and enormous opportunities to be seized," he said. "Take the data sector for example. We have all ten of the leading internet companies here. Conservative estimates say if we get the infrastructure right for them for the next few decades we could be talking an additional 50,000 jobs for that sector alone."
The figures already speak for themselves, despite ongoing controversies over Ireland's corporate tax rate and a European Commission probe in to Apple's business affairs here.
US firms contribute €3bn to the Irish Exchequer in taxes, €13bn in terms of payrolls, goods and services employed, and accounted for 72pc of Ireland's inward investment in 2013.
We were also the number one location worldwide for US FDI in the chemicals sector, which includes pharmaceuticals.
Celebrating US Independence Day, as well as Irish US trade links, Mr Redmond said the IDA must be commended for a record year last year when 13,367 new jobs were filled. But there were also 6,000 redundancies.
"2014 is shaping up to be another record year," he continued.
"I think there's a really positive story to be told that Ireland is the global foreign direct destination of choice. We are getting so much right and that's being recognised by US companies who want to create jobs here."
President Michael D Higgins was also keen to join the celebrations, paying tribute to the US for its contribution in stimulating Ireland's recovery after the economic crisis and being among the first to announce it was resuming investment in Ireland.
"Economically, the United States has been, and remains, a key partner for Ireland," he said.
"Not only is the US Ireland's second largest trading partner, but US companies employ tens of thousands of people in Ireland.
"The investment flow is also reciprocal, with Irish companies in the US now employing tens of thousands of US workers and new innovations in R&D from young Irish scholars finding markets in the US."