Friday 28 April 2017

'America first' could hit us hardest - we must rule out nothing on future investment

British Prime Minister Theresa May's speech last week equally took quite an aggressive tone on inward investment. Photo: Reuters/Stefan Rousseau/Pool
British Prime Minister Theresa May's speech last week equally took quite an aggressive tone on inward investment. Photo: Reuters/Stefan Rousseau/Pool

Brian Hayes

Running a small country can be a lot like running a small company. You have to be adaptable to the ever-changing wider picture, whether that's the global political environment or the business landscape. One of the advantages of being small is that you should be able to move quickly. First mover advantage is important.

But the other essential requirement for success when you are small is the necessity to keep competitive. This is especially relevant for Ireland as we enter into a period of great uncertainty.

Last Friday, US President Donald Trump told us in no uncertain terms that it's "America first". That means that protectionism is back in the United States and we need to understand what that could mean. There are going to be major challenges to our corporate tax code and this has already been seen through Mr Trump's vow to slash the US corporate tax rate. He has also said very menacing things about the US pharma industry, which is such a major employer in Ireland.

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