Ireland reacts to Trump's Twitter threat to multinationals

The US President-elect is proposing a 35% tariff on the US companies who call Ireland home...

Ireland reacts to Trump's Twitter threat to multinationals

Image: Evan Vucci AP/Press Association Images

The Government and IDA Ireland have moved to allay fears that US President-elect Donald Trump's planned 35% tariff on companies leaving America will hurt Irish investment.

In between criticising Alec Baldwin's Saturday Night Live impression of him ("unwatchable") and lashing out at China for not consulting the US on monetary policy or building a military complex in the South China Sea over the weekend, the businessman-turned-politician found time to tweet his plans for multinationals that leave US soil.

In a series of six messages, Trump said:

"Any business that leaves our country for another country, fires its employees, builds a new factory or plant in the other country, and then thinks it will sell its product back into the US without retribution or consequence, is wrong!

"There will be a tax on our soon to be strong border of 35% for these companies wanting to sell their product, cars, AC units etc, back across the border."

"This tax will make leaving financially difficult, but these companies are able to move between all 50 states, with no tax or tariff being charged. Please be forewarned prior to making a very expensive mistake! The United States is open for business."

In response to these proposed punitive measures on the kind of companies that have invested heavily on this side of the Atlantic, a Government spokeswoman told the Irish Independent last night that it would "continue to "continue to monitor the detail of policy changes as it emerges as the new administration takes office in the US in the coming months.

"The United States is, and will continue to be a major source of foreign investment into Ireland. Ireland remains an excellent location for US companies to locate and sell into European...and other markets.

"The Taoiseach also this weekend completed a successful three day business programme in the United States, where he met key business leaders in San Francisco and New York.

"During these meetings, the Taoiseach highlighted Ireland's attractiveness as a location for investment and trade and emphasised Ireland's strengths as a gateway for US firms into Europe and other global markets."

Meanwhile, an IDA spokesman told the paper:

"Our view is that in order to grow and be commercially successful, US companies will continue to want to internationalise and will need a worldwide presence to do so.

"IDA has been winning investments for decades and during that time we have seen the US and other countries' commercial and enterprise policies change many times, however, Ireland has continued to win investment throughout and we expect to do so in the future."

Experts expect any such move by Trump to be met with strong legal challenges, with Gary Hufbauer of the Peterson Institute for International Economics telling the BBC that the US courts would block the introduction of tariffs.

Last week, Trump took to Twitter to call out Rexnord Corp, an industrial supplier in Milwaukee that plans to move a plant and 300 jobs from Indiana to Mexico...

During his presidential campaigning, Trump had also indicated that he would cut the US rate of corporation tax from 35% to 15%, bringing it closer to competing with Ireland's much-discussed 12.5%.

His first major action following election was to come to a agreement with Carrier to prevent it from moving its Indiana furnace plant to Mexico, giving the company some $7 million in tax breaks in the process.