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Tax-haven row with the US 'regrettable', says Keegan

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Business, Ireland: Repro Free; 12/06/13: Taoiseach attends launch of new American Chamber report  ÔThe Case for Investing in EuropeÕ. According to a new report issued by the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland today, US investment is critical to economic growth in Europe, supporting four million jobs across the continent. It is also critical to the US, where the success of global companies make an important contribution to the economic wealth of that country. Speaking at the launch of The Case for Investing in EuropeÕ, Chamber President Peter Keegan said ÒIreland more than any other country has seen the benefit of this with 700 US companies employing in excess of 115,000 people; with employment in US companies growing 15 per cent since 2008.Ó Mr. Keegan also expressed  disappointment at the recent commentary surrounding global tax structures. ÒIt is regrettable  that Ireland has been name-checked so heavily in the recent US Senate Hearings.  The substantive nature of the operations that US companies have in Ireland and, the longevity of their investment, has been largely ignoredÓ. 
Pictured were Peter Keegan President American Chamber of Commerce, Donal O'Brien CEO ARAMARK with and Austin McCabe Managing Director Symantec. Picture Jason Clarke Photography.

Business, Ireland: Repro Free; 12/06/13: Taoiseach attends launch of new American Chamber report ÔThe Case for Investing in EuropeÕ. According to a new report issued by the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland today, US investment is critical to economic growth in Europe, supporting four million jobs across the continent. It is also critical to the US, where the success of global companies make an important contribution to the economic wealth of that country. Speaking at the launch of The Case for Investing in EuropeÕ, Chamber President Peter Keegan said ÒIreland more than any other country has seen the benefit of this with 700 US companies employing in excess of 115,000 people; with employment in US companies growing 15 per cent since 2008.Ó Mr. Keegan also expressed disappointment at the recent commentary surrounding global tax structures. ÒIt is regrettable that Ireland has been name-checked so heavily in the recent US Senate Hearings. The substantive nature of the operations that US companies have in Ireland and, the longevity of their investment, has been largely ignoredÓ. Pictured were Peter Keegan President American Chamber of Commerce, Donal O'Brien CEO ARAMARK with and Austin McCabe Managing Director Symantec. Picture Jason Clarke Photography.

Business, Ireland: Repro Free; 12/06/13: Taoiseach attends launch of new American Chamber report ÔThe Case for Investing in EuropeÕ. According to a new report issued by the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland today, US investment is critical to economic growth in Europe, supporting four million jobs across the continent. It is also critical to the US, where the success of global companies make an important contribution to the economic wealth of that country. Speaking at the launch of The Case for Investing in EuropeÕ, Chamber President Peter Keegan said ÒIreland more than any other country has seen the benefit of this with 700 US companies employing in excess of 115,000 people; with employment in US companies growing 15 per cent since 2008.Ó Mr. Keegan also expressed disappointment at the recent commentary surrounding global tax structures. ÒIt is regrettable that Ireland has been name-checked so heavily in the recent US Senate Hearings. The substantive nature of the operations that US companies have in Ireland and, the longevity of their investment, has been largely ignoredÓ. Pictured were Peter Keegan President American Chamber of Commerce, Donal O'Brien CEO ARAMARK with and Austin McCabe Managing Director Symantec. Picture Jason Clarke Photography.

THE row over how companies use Ireland to avoid paying tax in the United States has been "regrettable" and ignores the main issues for US firms here, the head of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland said yesterday.

Earlier this month, the powerful US Senator Carl Levin repeatedly described Ireland as a "tax haven" and accused Apple in particular of using this country to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes to the US Internal Revenue Service.

That sparked a row between the two countries, with the Government stridently rejecting Mr Levin's description of Ireland.

Yesterday, the chamber's president Peter Keegan said the row over tax avoidance neglected the size of US firms' genuine presence in Ireland.

"It is regrettable that Ireland has been name-checked so heavily in the recent US Senate Hearings. The substantive nature of the operations that US companies have in Ireland and the longevity of their investment have been largely ignored."

Despite the problems, Mr Keegan said it was "important" to have a debate on international tax structures.

"This must ensure they are appropriate to the modern global economy in which we operate.

"Ireland should continue its constructive engagement in debates within the OECD, EU and others, with a view to realising greater transparency from international tax transactions.

"We must not, however, allow knee-jerk reactions to the current news cycle. And we must not act unilaterally or in any way that diminishes Ireland's attractiveness to foreign direct investment. Ireland does and should continue to compete on the same terms as everyone else," he added.

Mr Keegan was speaking as the chamber launched its new report, 'The Case for investing in Europe', which was compiled by all the American chambers in Europe to promote the continent as a destination for US investment.

Launching the report, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said it "highlights Europe's significant strengths as a location for investment".

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