Finance Minister flies to US to make Ireland's case

Michael Noonan gets proactive as Donald Trump plans to bring multinationals home...

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has flown out to the US amid fears that President-elect Donald Trump will try to lure multinationals back across the Atlantic.

Noonan's trip was arranged before Trump won the election, and officially includes talks with US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and a Brexit meeting with the IMF and World Bank. However, threats to compete with Ireland's low corporate tax rate have led the minister to arrange meetings with US firms who have offices based here.

He will be aiming to highlight Ireland's enduring investment appeal during the week-long series of meetings.

Noonan said:

"Ireland has strong ties with the US and this is most evident in terms of inward investment from American companies.

"I meet regularly with current and prospective investors from the US and this visit will allow me to emphasise Ireland's attractiveness as a destination for foreign direct investment following the UK's decision to exit the European Union.

"Companies invest in Ireland for a broad range of reasons, not least to access the world's largest economic bloc, the European Union.

"As a common law, English speaking and business friendly jurisdiction we will continue to be an attractive destination for US companies.

"We will continue to look outwardly and engage with investors with a view to encouraging substantive investment in Ireland which creates high-quality employment for our people."

Last week, the Finance Minister dismissed suggestions that Trump's economic plans – particularly his desire to lower US business tax to 15% – will damage investment in Ireland.

He told an Oireachtas committee:

"I spent all my life listening to US election campaigns where there was a commitment to reform corporate tax. I’ve yet to see tangible measures and I was first elected to a local authority in 1974.

"It’s the repatriation of profits that is the primary issue. Now, if you reduce that to 15 per cent, it seems to me that that is not an disincentive for setting up abroad.

"As a matter of fact, it could work the other way because you pay much less tax if you repatriate profits from Ireland in the future."