The Maple Leaf and the Shamrock - Why More Canadian Companies are Choosing Ireland as their Natural European Base.
It’s not just about a common language, our shared heritage, shared values and centuries-old links across the Atlantic.And while it helps that 4.6m Canadians, 14% of the total population, can claim Irish ancestry, there’s much more to the growing connection than misty-eyed sentiment for the old country.In the post-colonial era, Canada and Ireland have forged very strong links at the highest levels.
One of the first official visits by an Irish head of state to a foreign country happened in 1948, when Taoiseach John A. Costello travelled to Canada, a full year before Ireland was finally declared a republic and 8 years before the same Taoiseach made his first visit to the White House.It was in Canada, on that visit in 1948, that Costello (in answer to a reporter’s question) said for the first time that Ireland would become a republic, a move that is said to have surprised both his hosts and his cabinet at home.
Today, the two countries share a very strong commercial and economic relationship, built on very significant trade flows and extensive bilateral investment.Since 2018 and in the post-Brexit era, the number of jobs provided by Canadian companies in Ireland has grown by 25 percent to over 15,000.We have seen the number of new Canadian companies opening operations in Ireland more than double since Brexit became a reality.There is also good news on the export front. Over the past few years, Ireland has enjoyed a trade surplus of as much as €1bn with Canada.
In 2020, some €2.1 billion of Irish goods were exported to the country. As a result, there are over 600 Irish companies now exporting to Canada which support 25,000 jobs here. It works both ways – bilateral goods trade between Canada and Ireland totalled $3.9 billion in 2020 with Canadian exports of $672.3 million and imports of $3.2 billion.In terms of services trade, Canada exported $1.6 billion in services to Ireland in 2019, and imported $3.1 billion of services from Ireland in the same year.
Since Brexit made Ireland the only anglophone nation in the 27-country EU, Ireland, with its highly educated, skilled, young workforce and open, dynamic economy, has become the natural choice for a rapidly growing number of Canadian companies looking for a European base. Our continuing, strong links with the UK also make Ireland a natural bridge to an economy that may now be outside of the EU, but still counts in a big way for many Canadian companies.
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