Market overview - Ireland
In recent years, Ireland has had one of the highest economic growth rates in Europe and is a dynamic market for technology and innovation. Following the UK’s departure from the European Union (EU) in January 2020, Ireland is now the only common law, English-speaking country in the EU.
Economic and business conditions in Ireland, and globally, have been altered by the COVID-19 pandemic. This web site will be updated as the situation develops. The Canadian Embassy in Ireland continues to support clients of the Trade Commissioner Service pursuing business opportunities for export and investment into Ireland.
On this page:
- Why Ireland Matters for Canadian Companies
- Setting up a Company in Ireland
- Import/Export Resources
- Business Culture in Ireland
- Related links
Why Ireland Matters for Canadian Companies
General advantages of Ireland
- Ireland is an attractive base for Canadian companies wanting to access the European market:
- talented workforce
- attractive corporation tax rate of 12.5% (among the lowest in the world)Footnote 1
- ease of doing businessFootnote 2
- Ireland is easy to access with direct flights from numerous cities in Canada as well as the US.
- The Irish government prioritizes strong transport systems, infrastructure, and climate change; Project Ireland 2040 comprises a 10 year €116 billion capital investment plan and a new National Planning Framework to enhance regional connectivity and competitiveness, and improve environmental sustainability.
- The concentration of multinational companies with European headquarters and significant research and development operations in Ireland opens opportunities for Canadian SMEs to tap into highly integrated global value chains.
Ireland is a member of the European Union
- Ireland has a pro-EU government, and a young, diverse workforce that is highly educated, particularly in technical fields.
- The Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) provides Canadian businesses with favourable access to the Irish and EU market through a number of measures including tariff reductions, increased labour mobility, and access to procurement contracts at all levels of government.
Ireland is a hub for innovation
Ireland is a hub for innovation, leveraging abundant government and industry support for start-ups and scale-ups. This has created a dynamic technology and innovation ecosystem in Ireland involving collaboration with:
- research centres
- top multinational companies across numerous sectors
Industrial manufacturing and R&D clusters offer opportunities to Canadian companies producing innovative goods and services in these sectors:
- medical devices
- cyber tech
- financial services
- clean technologies
- information and communication technologies
Setting up a Company in Ireland
There are various types of entities that can be established in Ireland. Information on registering and setting up a business in Ireland is available from the Company Registry Office and Revenue Ireland.
Companies with operations in Ireland are required to register with the Office of the Revenue Commissioners.
Any business in the European Union, which includes Ireland, must register for Value-Added Tax (VAT).
When establishing a company in Ireland, at least one of the directors must be a resident of a Member State of the European Economic Area (EEA).
The Embassy of Canada in Ireland can assist TCS clients with information on service providers for any of these topics.
For Canadian companies with an existing presence in Ireland, a guide on importing to and exporting from Ireland can be found here.
Ireland’s trade arrangements with the UK will continue as if the UK is still a member of the EU until December 31, 2020. This means goods will continue to move between Ireland and the UK without the requirement for customs declarations or duties until this date. After this transition period, Ireland’s trading arrangements with the UK will depend on the outcome of negotiations between the UK and the EU.
Revenue Ireland provides the following detailed guides for importing to and exporting from Ireland:
A qualified customs broker can assist in complying with all import and export regulations. The Embassy of Canada can assist Canadian companies in identifying relevant service providers.
Business Culture in Ireland
Business culture in Ireland is informal and somewhat similar to Canada. Business dealings are generally relaxed in nature, and are based on long-term, trusting relationships. Regular visits to the market help develop these connections and support after-sales support and services. Humility is valued, and appearing boastful may be off-putting to a potential business partner or customer. 80% of the population is of Irish ethnicity and the official languages of the country are English and Irish.
Pub culture is prevalent in Irish society. Going for a “pint” after work or a dinner meeting is common for both business and personal interactions, and pubs serve a variety of non-alcohol beverages for those who don’t drink. Initiating such an invite is generally appreciated, as would a toast saying Sláinte (“slan-che”), which is the Irish form of “cheers” conveying good health.
Sports play an important role in Irish society, particularly Gaelic games (Irish football and hurling), rugby and horse racing. Sports viewing in pubs or bars is popular for socializing and networking.
It is important to stay in contact and maintain a relationship with a potential Irish business partner. Follow up emails, as well as calls or video calls, are an acceptable way of keeping in touch. LinkedIn is widely used in Ireland and sending a connection request before or after a meeting is also good way to stay connected.
Holiday events such as Christmas and Easter are widely celebrated across Ireland, and St. Patrick’s Day is the largest annual celebration of Irish culture. Sending a card or e-card is very common and likely to be appreciated. National public holidays, known as “Bank Holidays” in Ireland, should be considered before travelling or scheduling meetings.
Ireland has undergone extensive social change over the past 30 years and is progressive on many issues. However, this is largely the case in cities, compared to rural areas which may still be quite traditional. Irish law promotes gender equality in the workplace, and Ireland was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote in 2015.
- Ireland-Canada Business Association
- IDA Ireland
Ireland’s foreign direct investment agency, supports foreign companies investing in Ireland.
- Enterprise Ireland
Provides support to small and medium-sized companies in Ireland.
- Canada-Ireland fact sheet
Summarizes the Canada-Ireland bilateral trade relationship, key economic indicators and other general information about Ireland.
- Irish Central Statistics Office
Information on economic, social and industry statistics in Ireland.
- Statistics Canada
Information on Canada’s international trade statistics.
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