A Year of Superlatives for Hamburg

With more than 550 businesses from China, 100 from Japan and 50 from Taiwan, Hamburg is also Germany’s major location for Asia-related expertise 2017 is proving to be a year of superlatives for Hamburg. In January, the Elbphilharmonie, one of the world’s most spectacular concert halls, was inaugurated atop a former port warehouse. For more than 100 years, the Kaispeicher A warehouse was a symbol of Hamburg’s mercantile trade.

Transformed into a temple of culture, it has been reborn as a new icon. Fusing the old brick walls of the port warehouse with the modern glass structure of the concert hall, the Elbphilharmonie is the architectural symbol of Hamburg’s future and a new landmark for the city. And as if the Elbphilharmonie wasn’t enough of a superlative, the European XFEL is now launching a science project that is unrivalled anywhere in the world. With investment twice as high as that of the Elbphilharmonie, this project, in which 11 countries are participating, will create the basis for new discoveries e.g. in the areas of disease processes and energy research. Further research institutes, especially from the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are currently being founded or expanded.

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The Floating Industry

This year markets may well be volatile due to the changing of the guard in Washington, but where are the safer bets being hedged?

Despite persistent economic uncertainty, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the world’s largest cruise industry trade association is forecasting continued growth in Europe’s cruise market. The sector has grown by approximately 50% since 2008 and continues to develop year on year.  And, as more cruise ships get distributed to European operators, the cruise market will continue to expand, and the CLIA expects an estimated 25.3 million passengers to take to the high seas this year alone.

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Dynamic Glasgow

Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow is an economic and property powerhouse which generated £19.6 billion Gross Value Added (GVA) in 2015, the greatest of any Scottish city. It had the fastest growing economy in the UK 2013-14 (ONS), significantly outperforming all other UK core cities, and is set to grow by 7.2% by 2022. The city’s buoyant economy is founded on a diverse set of sectors which include digital technology, financial and business services, life sciences, low carbon, engineering, advanced manufacturing and design, tourism and major events, and the creative industries. This very diversity has been the key to the city’s economic resilience, through the impacts of global recession, and growth in recent years.

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Full Steam Ahead

Redeveloping port infrastructure is an important driver of FDI .Opinion is split on Ireland’s FDI prospects in light of Brexit, but the Celtic Tiger has reason to be optimistic, as the country aims to exploit the uncertainty surrounding the UK and leverage its new status as the only significant English-speaking EU economy.

This is reflected in the mood in the country which is becoming more buoyant. A recent survey by Dublin Chamber of Commerce testifies to this, with only 39% of firms now believing Brexit will have a negative effect, down from 50% six months previously. Investors can expect to enjoy corporate tax advantages and access to a rich reservoir of skilled labour. This has led to renewed commitments to the country from major international tech firms since the UK’s decision to leave the EU, evidencing that this is a time of opportunity for Ireland as it looks to attract talent and increase its share of the pie across the board.

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Dublin Port

Ongoing developments at Dublin Port are working to cement its status as the undisputed trade gateway into and out of Ireland. Yet, its standing as a cruise liner port of distinction is less well known. 2016 saw Dublin Port experience record throughput of 34.9 million gross tonnes and in the four preceding years recorded 25% growth. The trajectory looks set to continue too with growth of 4.2% for Q1 2017 already posted, while the fact it will be paying a dividend to the State of €11.7 million in 2017 bears testament to its ongoing success.

2016 also saw over 100 cruise ship vessels visit the port, drawn in part by improved facilities at Alexandra Quay, ongoing redevelopment and the ten year €600m capital investment programme. Yet, perhaps the biggest feather in its cap to date is having attracted Celebrity Cruises to make it their home port for the early summer season in 2018, an investment worth almost €6m to Dublin and surrounds in terms of knock-on impact.

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LOCAL KNOWLEDGE

When Investing in the US – Get to Know Your Regional Development Authority
As a federal structure the United States is unique when compared to Canadian and European countries in the delivery of economic development services.   In many countries economic benefits or incentive packages are negotiated at the federal/national or provincial level.   In the United States the delivery of benefits and incentives is negotiated at the state – but more importantly – at the regional/local level.

Thus, companies seeking to expand into North America and the north east should identify regional (multi-county) public authorities to advise and assist them in their location decisions.  Regional economic development authorities combine the capabilities found in state government in the United States yet have that local touch that is essential for finding the right location.  This is the significance of the Kennebec Regional Development Authority (KRDA) for European firms considering expanding into the North East US.

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CELTIC PHOENIX

Ireland’s foreign direct investment credentials are second to none. The industriousness and spirit of entrepreneurialism that marks its people has ensured it has swiftly risen like a phoenix from the ashes to put behind it the ravages of the global financial crisis which began in 2008, and which hit the country harder than most. A host of infrastructural developments across the country have cemented Ireland’s claim to be Europe’s Western gateway, with the jewel in the crown undoubtedly being Dublin Port, which has recorded impressive growth as it continues to expand in accordance with its Masterplan. Moreover, the ongoing transformation of the Port is having a profoundly positive ripple effect on the surrounding city region and beyond in terms of driving investment. Cumulatively, the Port has become central in catapulting the country up the league table of FDI prospects, and helps to position this English-speaking region favourably to investors looking at an imminent post-Brexit commercial landscape.

Innovation and efficiency have become the watchwords when it comes to Ireland, and nowhere is this more apparent than in Dublin, the capital. Here, tech companies of international renown, such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Accenture and Airbnb have elected to call the Fair City home, such that Dublin Port has become known as “Silicon Docks”. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the country global giants Apple, HP and Intel have also set up shop, attracted by a skilled and plentiful IT workforce and favourable tax conditions.

What’s more, they’re not going anywhere, in spite of a recent European Commission anti-state aid ruling against Apple regarding a retroactive tax bill, given Ireland’s credentials on so many other fronts. In addition, it remains to be seen whether the European ruling actually has any teeth, since both Apple itself, which points to its status as the world’s largest taxpayer, as well as the Irish Government, which sees the decision as blatant interference in internal sovereign matters, are contesting the matter.

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LIMERICK RENAISSANCE TAKING HOLD

Limerick

There’s a buzz word abounding Limerick these days and it is ‘renaissance’.

Eight years ago Limerick was at the eye of a perfect storm whipped up by global and local economic tornados. Today, it has not alone rode those out but dusted itself off and embarked on a major transformative plan that is already reaping very significant rewards. The fulcrum of a region of almost 400,000 people, Limerick’s growth is now outpacing the vast bulk of cities across Europe. In the city itself employment levels have grown exponentially with record FDI related job creation achieved over the past three years alone. Couple that with a newly unified and streamlined local authority, unprecedented investment plans, a thriving third level sector and you most definitely have a comparable city on the rise.

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