Monday 19 February 2018

Noonan: 'no fears' over Trump plan to lure business back

Finance Minister Michael Noonan Photo: Doug O'Connor
Finance Minister Michael Noonan Photo: Doug O'Connor
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has indicated he has no fears about multinational companies leaving Ireland in the wake of Donald Trump's election as US president.

Key figures in Mr Trump's team have said lowering corporation tax by up 20pc, in order to compete with Ireland, will be a priority after he takes office in January.

But Mr Noonan, who is currently on a trade mission in the US, said none of the business leaders he has met has expressed a desire to relocate.

Mr Noonan has not requested a meeting with the president-elect during his trip but has met with a series of high-level diplomats in Washington, including US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

"For the next three days, I'll be meeting the people in the IT industry for discussions; most of them will have projects in Ireland - Amazon, Facebook, Intel and Apple and all the others," he told his local newspaper, the 'Limerick Leader'.

Asked whether Irish jobs could be under threat if the US drops corporation tax from 35pc to 15pc, Mr Noonan said: "No, that's not being expressed here at all."

Mr Noonan's US trip comes ahead of a similar one by Taoiseach Enda Kenny later this month.

He will travel to New York and San Francisco - but a spokesperson said "at present" there are no plans for talks with Mr Trump.

At home, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed has said it is "unclear" at this stage what impact the US election result will have on the farming sector in Ireland. He said any impact that may arise is likely to be in the area of trade in agricultural products.

"We do not yet know what the new administration's approach will be in this area, for example in terms of whether its overall attitude is likely to be more protectionist in nature, or whether it will take a different approach than heretofore in negotiating free trade agreements," he said.

Mr Creed noted that the EU has been negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the US for some time.

"It appears that these negotiations have essentially entered a period of pause until after the new administration has settled into office," he said.

Meanwhile, management at Donald Trump's hotel in Doonbeg, Co Clare, are anticipating the incoming president will visit the facility during his tenure.

Speaking to Newstalk radio, Doonbeg golf pro Brian Shaw said: "I would be very surprised if he didn't, very very surprised... I would be shocked if he didn't make it over."

Irish Independent

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