Delegation finds goodwill in US to Ireland




Ibec was delighted to attend the recent business delegation to Washington DC convened by Ireland Inc for a series of high-level political meetings. Our members were represented by Ibec President Pat McCann and Head of Corporate Affairs Siobhan Masterson.


The delegation was led by former Taoiseach Enda Kenny, whose political capital and strong relationships was in evidence on the trip. The programme of meetings included US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, and Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee Richie Neale and Congress members Stephanie Murphy and Brendan Boyle.


Ibec also attended an in-depth meeting with US Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue on current private sector challenges and also on possible future opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic.


Overall our observations from the visit included:


  • There is substantial goodwill towards Ireland’s story and an openness to reset the agenda in the context of Ireland’s highly globalised business model, Brexit and the Northern Ireland.
  • The generation of US politicians who supported Ireland through the Peace Process are now in the latter stages of their careers and there is a need to leverage these relationships to build a strong new network with the next generation of politicians.
  • While much of the meeting with Secretary Ross was around Irish investment in the US and tariffs, he identified two areas that Ireland could work to support the US: the development of a Joint US Ireland Action on Workforce; and the possible promotion of ‘Opportunity Zones' (low tax, pro Foreign Direct Investment districts) in the US to Irish companies.


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