According to a new report from the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland, US firms invested almost $18 billion in Ireland during the first six months of the year, a rise of 49% from the same period last year.

The report revealed that US investment has grown five fold over the last decade and is now worth a total of $190 billion – more than the four BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) combined. This figure accounts for nearly a quarter of Ireland’s gross domestic product.

President of the American Chamber of Commerce, Gerard P. Kilcommins, said that Ireland’s highly skilled, flexible workforce along with its low corporation tax were key to maintaining this success.

Mr. Kilcommins advised the Irish government to continue investing in education “to the maximum extent possible”.

Ireland is home to a number of large US multinationals, such as Microsoft, Google, Intel and Pfiser,  which are responsible for a significant portion of Irish exports.

The report also found that Irish companies invested $8 billion in the US last year, a new record, and supported 120,000 jobs.

Irish Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, said that this relationship is of critical importance to Ireland and that the Irish government will work hard to strengthen the links between the two countries.

He said: “As the report concludes, this relationship, which was once based entirely around the great success story of US investment in Ireland, is now very much a two-way street.”

Addressing concerns over the current euro zone crisis, author of the report, Joseph Quinlan, said: I’m worried about that, unequivocally. But I’m more confident at the end of the day that investors will come to realize what we already know in this room – Ireland is different from Greece, it's different from Portugal, from a lot of other countries.”

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