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92% of Ireland's CEOs Confirm their Investment in Ireland is a Success
By PwC
Sep 22, 2015

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An overwhelming majority (92%) of multinational CEOs confirmed that their investment in Ireland is a success. This is supported by fact that nearly half (49%) of these CEOs plan to increase this investment, up from over a third (37%) last year. This is according to PwC's 2015 CEO Pulse Survey results. Given our successful track record, our highly skilled workforce, our ease of doing business and our competitive tax regime, Ireland continues to offer huge opportunities for US investment. The American Chamber of Commerce recently revealed that Ireland is the number one destination for US foreign direct investment. Ireland is also perfectly located to act as a 'hub' and a gateway to Europe and Asia. Exports from US firms based in Ireland are four times higher than American firms in China (American Chamber of Commerce, March 2015).

In what is a very competitive global environment, the survey highlights that the ability to access a highly skilled workforce - noted by over three quarters of respondents (69%) - is the most important factor critical to increasing and maintaining this investment. The IMD Competitiveness Year-book rankings (May 2015) recently ranked Ireland in 1st place for productivity and efficiency. Therefore, continuing to ensure that we produce the right skills for the digital economy is critical. Cost concerns also continue to be high on the agenda for multinational CEOs with well over half (61%) saying maintaining our cost competitiveness, including wages and rents, is vital for winning FDI.
The retention of our 12.5% corporate tax rate remains very important with over half (55%) saying this is a critical factor. In the context of the current Global tax debate, having a transparent rules based tax system with a competitive low rate, as Ireland does, will position us very well. One of Ireland's key strengths in this area is the pro-business approach and the broad stability of our corporate tax regime.

Improving Ireland's personal tax regime was noted by over a third (35%), having increased from around a fifth (22%) last year. The real pressure for Ireland on personal tax starts to kick in once the salary levels go above c€70,000. The combination of a very high rate which kicks in at a very low level puts Ireland's effective personal tax rates out of synch with our competitors. It is particularly relevant in an environment when skills are in short supply and in where Ireland is trying to maintain our cost competitiveness. For the FDI sector, this increases the challenge when we compete to bring new or incremental projects to Ireland.

As an economy where research and development is critical for future economic prosperity, over one in ten (14%) multinational CEOs said that maintaining Ireland's status as an attractive location for innovation and R&D is important. Having an FDI created Research, Development & Innovation (RDI) ecosystem will enhance Ireland's standing. Ensuring our tax policy is leading edge is also necessary but is by no means sufficient. There is more work to be done on refocusing and improving our overall RDI system including getting our R&D tax regime right. Further encouragement will be required to encourage FDI companies to participate and lead innovation and enterprise development through to commercialisation.

Feargal O'Rourke
Managing Partner
Price Waterhouse Coopers
One Spencer Dock
North Wall Quay
Dublin 1
t: 01 792 6000
f: 01 792 6200

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