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CO-WRITTEN / PARTNER | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Here’s why you should locate your business in Ireland

Ireland continues to attract leading firms, including a growing number from Asia and Singapore.

Despite the uncertain economic climate in Europe today, a growing number of Asian companies, eager to expand their global footprint, are looking to locate their European business in Ireland, a country that has long been the European Union (EU) destination of choice for United States (US) companies.

This unassuming European country, already home to 1,200 multinational firms, was last year named “Best Country to Invest in Western Europe” by business publication Site Selection, an affirmation of the economic growth the country has sustained since the 2008 Eurozone debt crisis. For one, it is clear that Ireland, with its small yet highly-globalized economy, has achieved a degree of stability and traction that is neighbors have yet to accomplish. For 2015, analysts expect the Irish economy to announce a healthy 6% growth, making it the Eurozone’s fastest-growing economy, and Ireland is expected to continue to attract leading companies, including a growing number from Asia and Singapore. “Ireland is one of the best places in the world to do business,” claims IDA Ireland, the country’s foreign direct investment agency, founded in 1949. “International companies are attracted for a variety of reasons, but the facts speak for themselves.”

Irish exports, for one, grew by 12% in 2014 versus 2013, and unemployment has dropped to less than 10% over the past three years. And since 2008, Ireland’s competitiveness has “improved dramatically.” Like Singapore, Ireland’s economy currently caters to high-growth industries, including ICT, Life Sciences, Financial Services, the Internet, Engineering, and Business Services, but with the added advantage of a highly skilled, highly-educated workforce that Singaporean firms can utilize should they wish to expand their business into the 28-member EU, or even the US.

Singaporean aircraft leasing company BOC Aviation (formerly Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise), for instance, already enjoys the benefits of operating a business in Ireland. The Bank of China-owned aircraft lessor, with an impressive fleet of over 250 aircraft, is one of many Asian companies currently doing business from Ireland. Other companies that have joined the ranks of BOC Aviation include aircraft support firm ST Engineering, polyester fiber manufacturer Indorama, information technology company Huawei and pharmaceutical Takeda, to name just a few.

An ideal location

So why locate your business in Ireland? Firstly, the Eurozone country ranks highly in ease and speed in setting up a business, offers a well-connected, English-speaking access point to mainland Europe, a low cost base, and a broad pool of well-educated, highly-skilled and multi-lingual talent.

Furthermore, Ireland’s attractive 12.5% corporation tax rate is supported by additional government incentives such as 25% R&D (research and development) tax credits and a new OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development)-compliant Knowledge Development Box (KDB) that will see the corporation tax rate set at 6.25% for qualifying income.

IDA Ireland plays a big role in ramping up Ireland’s economic bona fides on the world stage, assisting companies in setting up and scaling their European operations in Ireland and having already partnered with over 1,200 international clients to date.“Expanding your business overseas raises all sorts of concerns, but IDA Ireland is happy to provide advice and support,” IDA Ireland claims. “Ireland has an impeccable track record for attracting Foreign Direct Investment over the past 50 years, helping Ireland’s economy beat global trends, and IDA Ireland’s partnership approach has led to increased investment, expansion and diversification of client activities.”

IDA Ireland offers companies a full suite of free services to help them make their expansion decisions whilst also managing the state aids. “IDA Ireland actively plans for success. As Ireland’s inward promotion agency, we partner with established companies, both large and small, working with them every step of the way to achieve a smooth, fast and successful set-up of their operations in Ireland.” If you’re a Singaporean firm with an international outlook, looking for the next big thing, Ireland might just be up your alley.

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