Up to 65% of small firms in Ireland depend on cross Atlantic data transfers and new chamber president Bob Savage said yesterday that firms could find obstacles to doing business in the US and citizens could have difficulty carrying out online banking while there if no agreement is reached.
Mr Savage also heads the Irish division of global cloud computing and data storage company EMC.
“In a 21st century society cross-border data transfers are essential; they facilitate business transactions, innovation, economic growth and job creation.
“Following the recent European Court of Justice decision to stike down the Safe Harbour Agreement that allowed for transatlantic data transfer, there is a very real risk that EU-US trade could be gravely damaged, jobs lost in the EU and the day-to-day lives of citizens significantly impacted.
“From next week, European data protection authorities may begin examinations of companies’ data transfer arrangements and in the absence of an EU-US agreement many companies may have to cease such transfers,” Mr Savage said.
He also reiterated the chamber’s stance that new European Commission multinational tax recommendations — aimed at recouping the estimated €70bn underpaid annually — won’t damage Ireland’s attractiveness to US firms looking to invest in Europe.
However, he said Ireland’s marginal personal tax rates, cost competitiveness and skills levels must be constantly reviewed.