EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan has rejected a call by US President Donald Trump for American pharmaceutical companies to move their manufacturing back to the United States.
Mr Hogan said: "American companies don't locate in Ireland just because they like Ireland, they do so because they make money."
"They save €1.7bn in tariffs because they are located in Ireland in the European Union. That is a significant amount of money."
Mr Hogan made the comments from Brussels to an event hosted by the Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin.
He also warned it could be 2024 before Ireland and other European economies fully recover from the economic and trade effects of the Covid-19 crisis.
The EU commissioner said unemployment will rise across the trading bloc as member states struggle.
Mr Hogan said: "The global economy is subject to a profound and, perhaps, unprecedented shock."
"The public health and economic challenges are closely linked," he added.
The commissioner said: "It is abundantly clear that we rely on the global arteries of trade to deliver vital goods like medical equipment and food to where they are needed.
"Equally, the investment needed in the future to reinforce our public health capability will require functioning economies with robust, resilient and sustainable supply and value chains."
He said the European Commission analysis estimates a 9.7% decrease in global trade for 2020.
For the EU 27 states, the predicted Covid-19-related economic contraction results would result in a reduction of 9.2% in exports of goods and services and an 8.8% decrease in imports to the EU this year.
"In absolute terms, this amounts to a fall in exports of about €285 billion and in imports of €240 billion," he said.