Taoiseach: US closer to Irish tax system

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will “congratulate” President Donald Trump on bringing America’s tax regime closer to the Irish system when he meets him today.

Mr Trump has cited Ireland when promising to cut America’s corporate tax rate to lure US firms back.

Mr Varadkar will have the chance to raise issues, including a possible trade war between EU and US, in the White House today, adding that the issue of tax is “part of the reason I’m keen to meet him”.

Speaking in Washington, the Taoiseach said: “I think what President Trump has actually done in many ways is emulated our tax policy.

“He’s decided that it makes sense to have lower tax for business and that it makes sense to tax companies on the money they make in your country rather than trying to tax them on money they make in other parts of the world.

If anything I’ll be congratulating him on the fact that he’s successfully changed America’s tax laws and brought them more into line with ours.

“I’m certainly not going to criticise him for going a long way towards the tax system we have in Ireland which I think is going to benefit America and I think is going to benefit Ireland too.”

He stressed many US firms have chosen Ireland as a base not only because of our 12.5% corporate tax but also because we are in the eurozone, have a good talent pool, and because of our approach to business and trade.

The Taoiseach yesterday met with the US Chamber of Commerce and had a roundtable discussion with some companies that are big investors to Ireland, such as Allergen, Intel and Boeing.

“I was very encouraged by every company around the table that said they continue to be committed to Ireland and if anything, they would be intensifying their relationship with Ireland and pursuing further investment into the future.

“The United States has changed its tax laws but Ireland still has a lower rate of [corporation] tax than the United States, and of course these companies are in Ireland for a lot more than tax reasons.”

He said one of the major issues discussed was Brexit and how Ireland’s role as a “friend and ally” of America is going to be enhanced in some ways by Britain’s decision to leave the EU.

After his meeting with Mr Trump in the Oval Office, which Fine Gael TD John Deasy will also attend, Mr Varadkar is to visit Capitol Hill for the speaker’s lunch.

Mr Varadkar will have a breakfast meeting with Vice President Mike Pence tomorrow morning before travelling to New York where he will walk in the St Patrick’s Day parade on Saturday.


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