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Minister McGrath to visit San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Los Angeles with focus on trade, investment and creative industries

Minister McGrath to visit San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Los Angeles with focus on trade, investment and creative industries

The Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath T.D, will travel today (Sunday) for an official visit to California. The core purpose of the visit is to highlight the importance of the two-way trade and investment relationship between Ireland and the United States, and to meet with a number of companies in Silicon Valley that have a long-standing and significant presence in Ireland.

The visit will also take full advantage of Ireland’s increased official and diplomatic footprint in the area, including the new Ireland House facility in San Francisco and the Consulate General of Ireland which has been in place in Los Angeles since 2019. Reflecting this increased presence, this visit will take place in full partnership with the Consulates General in San Francisco and Los Angeles, IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Screen Ireland.

The visit will commence in San Francisco and the Bay Area, which is home to 750,000 people of Irish heritage. The Minister will meet with key IDA client companies across the technology, internet and pharma sectors and will participate in Enterprise Ireland engagements focused on healthcare and technology. His programme will also include a meeting with Fiona Ma, California State Treasurer, and an event at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business where he will address the theme “Economic Tides and Transatlantic Ties – Preparing for the Future in a Time of Change”.

Minister McGrath is looking forward to engaging with the wider Irish community, including in relation to major plans for the United Irish Cultural Centre in San Francisco. The Minister will also host an event to mark the 40th anniversary of the twinning of Cork and San Francisco.

In Los Angeles, the Minister will focus on creative industries and on the area as a centre for innovation, meeting with some of the major global players in this sector, many of which have significant and growing investments in Ireland and work closely with Screen Ireland, IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland. Minister McGrath announced an increase in the cap of the Section 481 film tax credit from €70m to €125m in Budget 2024, and this will take effect following State Aid approval from the European Commission.

Ahead of his departure, the Minister said:

“There is so much to celebrate and so much opportunity in terms of Ireland’s links with California, where 2.3 million of its population claim Irish heritage. The focus of my visit is on deepening that relationship and helping it to grow even further.

Today, 950 U.S.-owned firms have operations in Ireland supporting close to 208,000 people. Over 290 of those companies come from the US West Coast, employing 75,000 people. Breaking this down even further, 50,000 work for Californian companies.

Reflecting the two-way nature of our economic relationship, Irish firms are significant investors in the United States across a wide range of sectors. Ireland is the ninth largest source of FDI to the United States with 700 Irish companies directly responsible for employing 110,000 people across the country in all 50 states – including 25,000 in California alone. Even with these already-impressive figures, I believe there is greater potential still.”