PAUL MILLS: Pharma lifts the Trump blues for Ireland

The decision of Merck Sharp Dohme, or MSD as it’s better known in these parts, is more than good news for Dublin but also for Ireland, writes Paul Mills.

It’s a time when it’s very easy to be negative. Whatever happens with Brexit it is sure to hit Irish business.

The US has made it much more attractive for its overseas corporations to repatriate funds and it has cut its corporation taxes, possibly suggesting fewer projects for Ireland.

Worse, the gung-ho approach of the US President Donald Trump to international trade agreements threatens a trade war.

Trump has also become fixated on the balance of trade between the US and other countries and on the huge deficits that the US has with a lot of the world, with the EU and China, in particular.

The president’s administration has already increased the import duties in the US on solar panels from China and washing machines from South Korea.

In this context, the decision by MSD is of great significance.

It will use a pharmaceutical facility that it closed down a few years ago.

Pharmaceutical facilities cost an awful lot of money.

They employ a lot of graduates, pay well and they are generally very profitable.

It’s no surprise that many people started to believe they would be with us forever.

The factory that MSD had shut produced women’s health and fertility products.

The new facility will now produce so-called bio-medicines for a worldwide market. Such products include vaccines, blood products, and gene therapies. They are produced with cutting-edge technologies.

MSD or Merck as it is known in North America has a long track record in Ireland.

It employs over 1,800 people here and has invested more than €2.2bn in the past 50 years and has operations in four counties from Cork to Dublin.

Its decision to re-establish itself in Swords is good news that will boost business across the island.

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