Friday 9 December 2016

There's no need to panic about a Trump presidency yet, says Hogan

Published 12/11/2016 | 02:30

European Commissioner Hogan
European Commissioner Hogan

European Commissioner Phil Hogan has said "there's no need to panic yet" over the feared threat to jobs by the election of Donald Trump as US President.

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He said the bosses of US companies are "hard-nosed business people" who see the benefits of investing in Ireland.

Mr Hogan's remarks come after Mr Trump's economic adviser Stephen Moore warned that a "flood of companies" will leave Ireland under the new administration's plans to reduce US corporation tax.

The agriculture commissioner was speaking at a seminar on Brexit where he indicated that European member states will take a hard line with he UK in talks. He also advised the Irish government to forge alliances with other countries to "get the right result for Ireland".

Mr Hogan said he believes there has been "a little bit of an over-reaction" about the implications of Mr Trump's victory.

"I would say that there's no need to panic yet," he added.

"There is going to be change but I think the change comes slowly and firms that are based here in Ireland are here for various reasons."

He cited the access to a market of 500 million people, the benefit of the EU single market and added: "They're here to make money". He predicted that the US companies will maintain their presence here.

The seminar in Dublin considering the impact of Brexit on the agri-sector was organised by law firm McCann Fitzgerald.

Mr Hogan said there Commission is getting ready for Brexit negotiations but that he was limited in what he could say until British Prime Minister Theresa May triggers Article 50, the law that allows countries to leave the EU. He pointed out that "She can withdraw it [Article 50] at any time if she's not happy about it or the way things are going". And Mr Hogan signalled that the rest of the EU will take a tough stance on Brexit and this will cause difficulties for Ireland. He said that UK farmers will lose their preferential access to the European market and warned there will be tariffs. Britain "will not end up better off being outside, than inside the European Union" he added, saying that such an outcome might encourage other countries to leave.

"That makes it a little bit more difficult for Ireland," Mr Hogan warned and he said it must be taken into account as the Irish government seeks special arrangements. He advised the government to build alliances with the likes of France and Denmark on agriculture issues and Spain, which like Ireland has a land border with the UK - in their case Gibraltar.

Mr Hogan said the agri-industry here needs to diversify its export markets to prepare for Brexit, suggesting the ten countries of the ASEAN group including Indonesia have potential.

Mr Hogan said his central message is that the 27 remaining member states will make the decisions during Brexit talks, not the United Kingdom.

Irish Independent

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