Plagued by rising unemployment, Ireland has stepped up efforts to attract investment from emerging countries, including India, by projecting itself as the gateway for the European Union (EU) market.

The Investment and Development Agency (IDA), Ireland, responsible for inward investments, is targeting a five-fold jump in foreign direct investment (FDI) from India by 2020. IDA Ireland officials are reaching out to Indian companies and leading business groups to promote Ireland as a preferred investment destination to do business with Europe.

More deals in pipeline

About 30 Indian companies, including 19 through IDA’s initiatives, have already set up base in Ireland.

“Last year four Indian companies, including Aditi Technologies and Synowledge set up base, and this year six Indian companies are expected to announce investment. So far, prominent Indian companies such as HCL Wipro, Firstsource, Reliance Life Sciences, Wockhardt, Ranbaxy and Crompton Greaves are providing employment to over 3,000 people, and are planning to expand,” said Tommy Fanning, Global Departmental Manager, IDA Ireland said. “We want more Indian brands to come to Ireland from where they can access the EU. Ireland is the only English speaking member in the Eurozone that provides an excellent location for accessing the European market. Non-European internationals can be recruited if necessary because of the streamlined visa programme,” he said.

Ireland is targeting companies in the area of life sciences, medical technologies, electronics, software, financial services, digital media and high-end manufacturing.

“Ireland has become more competitive since the downturn, with falling property prices and labour cost. We have an excellent bureaucracy-free legal system, which means a company can be incorporated and a structure put into place quickly. We charge only 12.5 per cent as corporate tax and offer highly talented and young workforce. Companies can export from Ireland to the EU and elsewhere, and can enormously benefit by the cost advantage,” Mr. Fanning said.

In 2013, Indian companies accounted for 2.4 per cent of all FDI projects into Ireland and IDA Ireland plans to double FDI from India by 2016 and five-fold by 2020.

“As per our Horizon 2020, 20 per cent of FDI must come from growth markets and half of that should be from India. As of now, India is on track to meet the target. Currently, 40 per cent of FDI from India go to the U.K. and Indian companies should now consider Ireland,” he added.