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Economy of Ireland

In 1999, trade between Ireland and the United States was worth around $18.5 billion, a 24% increase over 1998. U.S. exports to Ireland were valued at $7.72 billion, an increase of about 8% over 1998 and 16% of Ireland's total imports. The range of U.S. products includes electrical components, computers and peripherals, drugs and pharmaceuticals, electrical equipment, and livestock feed. Irish exports to the United States grew by almost 32% over 1998 to $10.8 billion in 1999, representing about 15.5% of all Irish exports. Exports to the United States include alcoholic beverages, chemicals and related products, electronic data processing equipment, electrical machinery, textiles and clothing, and glassware.

In 1999, the recent trend of a U.S. trade deficit with Ireland continued. Overall, the value of U.S. imports from Ireland exceeded the value of U.S. exports to Ireland by $3.3 billion. Nonetheless, given the continued favorable outlook for the Irish economy, sales opportunities for U.S. producers in Ireland are expected to improve. Export-Import Bank financing and the presence of major U.S. banks in Ireland facilitate marketing by U.S. suppliers.

President Clinton and Irish Government officials have noted the important contribution toward economic and social progress American industrial investment in Ireland--north and south--has made. President Clinton has pledged to maintain the U.S. commitment to facilitate the growth of such job-creating investment. The International Fund for Ireland, which is funded by the U.S. Congress, has contributed $5 million annually to Ireland to support cross-border initiatives.

U.S. investment has been particularly important to the growth and modernization of Irish industry over the past 25 years, providing new technology, export capabilities, and employment opportunities. The stock of U.S. investment in Ireland at end-1998 was valued at $16.1 billion. Currently, there are more than 580 U.S. subsidiaries, employing almost 86,000 people and spanning activities from manufacturing of high-tech electronics, computer products, medical supplies, and pharmaceuticals to retailing, banking and finance, and other services.

Many U.S. businesses find Ireland an attractive location to manufacture for the EU market, since it is inside the EU customs area. Government policies are generally formulated to facilitate trade and inward direct investment. The availability of an educated, well-trained, English-speaking work force and relatively moderate wage costs have been important factors. Ireland offers good long-term growth prospects for U.S. companies under an innovative financial incentive program, including capital grants and favorable tax treatment, such as a low corporation income tax rate for manufacturing firms and certain financial services firms.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $73.7 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 8.4% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $20,300 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 5%
industry: 39%
services: 56% (1998)

Population below poverty line: 10% (1997 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 27.3% (1997)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.2% (1999)

Labor force: 1.77 million (1999 est.)

Labor force - by occupation: services 63%, industry 28%, agriculture 9% (1999 est.)

Unemployment rate: 5.5% (1999)

revenues: $25.3 billion
expenditures: $20.9 billion, including capital expenditures of $2 billion (1999)

Industries: food products, brewing, textiles, clothing; chemicals, pharmaceuticals, machinery, transportation equipment, glass and crystal; software

Industrial production growth rate: 10% (1999 est.)

Electricity - production: 19.715 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 94.12%
hydro: 4.63%
nuclear: 0%
other: 1.25% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 18.415 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 100 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 180 million kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: turnips, barley, potatoes, sugar beets, wheat; beef, dairy products

Exports: $66 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.)

Exports - commodities: machinery and equipment, computers, chemicals, pharmaceuticals; live animals, animal products

Exports - partners: EU 68% (UK 22%, Germany 15%, France 8%), US 15% (1998)

Imports: $44 billion (c.i.f., 1999 est.)

Imports - commodities: data processing equipment, other machinery and equipment, chemicals; petroleum and petroleum products, textiles, clothing

Imports - partners: EU 54% (UK 31%, Germany 6%, France 5%), US 16%, Japan 7%, Singapore 4% (1998)

Debt - external: $11 billion (1998)

Economic aid - donor: ODA, $240 million (1999)

Currency: 1 Irish pound[?] = 100 pence

Exchange rates: Irish pounds per US$1 - 0.9865 (January 2000), 0.9374 (1999), 0.7014 (1998), 0.6588 (1997), 0.6248 (1996), 0.6235 (1995)
note: on 1 January 1999, the European Union introduced a common currency the euro, which is now being used at a fixed rate of 0.787564 Irish pounds per euro; the euro has replaced the pound in many financial and business transactions; it will replace the local currency in consenting countries for all transactions in 2002

Fiscal year: calendar year

See also : Ireland

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