By Marcus Leach

Exports of Irish goods to the United States were up by 12 per cent according to figures released by Enterprise Ireland (EI).

EI, the government organisation responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets, said that companies in the medical device, pharmaceutical and chemical sectors dominated the export line-up.

Life sciences, financial services, enterprise software and clean-tech companies also showed well in the figures for 2010. The US and Ireland enjoy favourable relations, highlighted by a two-way trade.

227 Ireland-based companies employ nearly 82,000 Americans across all States, making the country a leading investor in the US. Furthermore, Irish companies continue to grow their market presence by acquiring US entities. For instance, last year, in a move that expanded its clean-tech footprint, PM Group, Ireland's largest engineering, architecture and project management firm, acquired Silicon Valley's Greene Engineers.

"The strong export figures and ongoing investment by Irish companies in the US confirm that a robust recovery is underway in Ireland,” EI's Chairman, Hugh Cooney noted.

“Once again, the US was the top destination for Irish goods and services last year. For many Irish companies, 2010 marked their first foray into the US market. Others continue to close sizable deals with major US customers. We intend to maintain the growth trajectory through sustained R&D investments that catalyse dynamic new export-oriented Irish companies. And we'll continue to champion the exceptional collaboration between industry, academia and government agencies that has long fast-tracked innovative Irish products from incubation to global markets."