Stephen Moore tells Newstalk that Trump is more worried about the likes of China, Japan and Mexico...
Having declared that "a flood of companies" would leave Ireland due to Donald Trump's economic plans yesterday, the US President-elect's senior economic adviser has said that, while there are "fairly high odds" that the rate of business tax across the Atlantic will be slashed, Ireland isn't one of the key countries that they are targeting.
Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Stephen Moore said:
"Our concern isn’t so much companies leaving for Ireland as companies leaving for China, Mexico and Japan..."
It is manufacturing jobs in these nations, in particular, that Trump is eager to bring home. This stance was a large part of his appeal in flyover states, where struggling (or former) blue collar workers put their fate in Trump's tough policies generating fresh employment for them. However, any cut that would bring it closer to our own 12.5% corporation tax rate would evidently make Ireland less competitive.
Moore conceded that a compromise on the proposed shift to 15% would be needed, but still anticipates that the rate will end up "between 15% and 20%". It's also going to happen very soon indeed as Trump sees it as "one of his highest priorities". It is an issue "he cares deeply about", Moore has gleaned from his months with him.
"I do think," he said, "we're going to get a business tax cut passed in the first 100 days."
Moore offered some reassurances that Ireland still boasts a range of attractions, including education and natural assets, that would ensure it remains "a very desirable place" for US companies.
"It's certainly true of Ireland, I wouldn't say that's true of Europe generally."
Reacting to Moore's comments, Newstalk business editor Vincent Wall called on the likes of the IDA to step up their efforts to keep multinationals here and new foreign direct investment flowing into the country.
First of all, he said those bodies need to "go into overdrive on the lobbying front... Let this administration know that we're their friends...
"Secondly, we need to look at every attractive measure we have."
That means education, increasing our research and development and – as suggested by Deloitte's Brendan Jennings on Breakfast Business yesterday – potentially re-examining our own corporation tax rate and lowering it even further.