Thursday, 12 October 2017
Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
34. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the steps she is taking to reverse the continual fall in Irish business competitiveness levels and making Ireland an attractive location for businesses to locate particularly Ireland's competitiveness standing with the UK; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43168/17]
Competitiveness is integral to exports, jobs growth and as a means of achieving sustainable improvements in living standards. Improving competitiveness performance is a core focus of the work of my Department and wider Government policy and is particularly vital in light of the challenges posed by Brexit.
The 2017/2018 Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum in September shows Ireland’s ranking has fallen by 1 place this year. Ireland is the 8th most competitive economy in the euro area and the 11th most competitive economy in the EU28. Despite the fall in ranking, it is encouraging that the overall trajectory of Ireland’s competitiveness performance and scores in indices such as the WEF’s in recent years is positive. The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report currently ranks Ireland 18th out of 190 economies. The Institute for Management Development measure of competitiveness ranks Ireland 6th most competitive out of 63 countries. Both the nominal and real Harmonised Competitiveness Indicators are at relatively low levels by historic standards and recent data points to continued HCI competitiveness in Ireland. Most importantly, our improved competitiveness is reflected in strong employment growth across sectors and regions. The strong performance of clients supported by the enterprise agencies in winning exports, market share and job creation in the face of intense global competition is to be commended and reflects the competitiveness of the environment in which to do business in Ireland.
Irelands’ performance in international rankings is a reminder of the intense global competition we face for exports and inward investment. Global uncertainty and Brexit in particular, has underlined the importance of building competitive advantage and generating an uplift in enterprise export competitiveness to secure sustainable jobs and growth. My objective is to ensure the economy is resilient at sectoral and firm level to deal with imminent competitiveness challenges and to build further on the progress we have made.
Building the foundations of future growth means we must further enhance the competitiveness of our business environment. We must continue to invest in infrastructure, innovation and talent and continue to harness the benefits from trade and the Single Market. As Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, I will ensure our policies enhance national competitiveness and create the best possible environment for enterprise and that innovation and investment across all regions are prioritised and implemented. Ensuring enterprise stays at the forefront of innovative activity is vital to deepening the resilience of our enterprise base and necessary for success in global markets, which for a small open economy like Ireland, is necessary for creating sustainable growth.