Apple tax row 'is bad for exports'
THE row over Apple's use of Ireland's laws to avoid paying billions of dollars worth of tax has damaged our reputation and the Government must do more to set out its position on the matter, the Irish Exporters Association (IEA) warned yesterday.
The IEA said the negative coverage about Ireland's tax regime has made it more difficult for its members to do business overseas.
"It is vital that the Irish Government provides an information document on Ireland's position on corporation tax, so that all public and private sector representatives are able to reiterate the key principles of our policy on the issue," said IEA boss John Whelan.
"The recent international controversy has damaged Ireland's reputation and robust measures must be taken to refute the allegations and restore confidence again in Ireland," he added.
Mr Whelan was speaking after the latest statistics showed the country's trade surplus narrowed slightly in April.
Latest figures from the Central Statistics Office showed that on a seasonally adjusted basis the country recorded a trade surplus of €3.42bn, down from €3.54bn in March.
The slide was due mainly to a 4.5pc rise in imports during the month.
For the year so far, Ireland's surplus stands at €12.4bn, down from €13.6bn at the same stage last year. Analysts were encouraged with the numbers, with Davy Stockbrokers in particular pointing to higher-than-expected goods exports.
"Goods export volumes rose 0.8pc on the month and 4pc on the year.
"That is the first annual growth recorded since August 2012. Goods exports have recovered through the early months of 2013 after an exceptionally poor performance in late 2012.
This suggests that the sharp slowdown in export growth through 2012 has now stabilised," said chief economist Conall MacCoille.
Merrion Stockbroker's Alan McQuaid took a similar view, but warned there were still risks because of the weakness in European markets.