Michael Noonan attempts to convince US firms to stay here

Finance Minister Michael Noonan will meet with senior International Monetary Fund and World Bank officials in California today to convince them to encourage US companies to continue investing in Ireland.

Michael Noonan attempts to convince US firms to stay here

Mr Noonan will hold the meetings after talks with US treasury secretary Jacob Lew in Washington DC yesterday on Ireland’s tax system and he prepares to hold crunch negotiations directly with Irish-based multi-nationals under pressure to return jobs to the US.

The meetings are part of a week-long US business visit which is officially about giving Mr Noonan an update briefing on the US, IMF and World Bank concerns over the Brexit fallout after he was unable to attend a previous meeting due to a scheduling clash with the Irish budget.

However, the Department of Finance has confirmed the week-long visit is also focused on giving Mr Noonan a chance to press home Ireland’s desire for continued investment amid growing concerns multinationals will be forced to return to the US under Donald Trump’s presidency.

During his meeting with US treasury secretary Mr Lew yesterday, Mr Noonan is understood to have been quizzed over the Apple controversy and the ability of large American firms such as Google, Facebook and LinkedIn to avail of the 12.5% corporate tax rate in Ireland.

In response, he stressed Ireland’s concerns over US president Donald Trump’s plans to slash America’s corporate tax rate to 15%, and said the fact Ireland is a key, English-speaking European Union member opens up opportunities in the wider EU market for firms in this country.

Today, Mr Noonan will travel to California to hold similar meetings with IMF and World Bank officials over the need for ongoing investment if the Irish recovery is to continue.

He will later attend several IDA-related engagements with US business leaders, before holding direct talks with leading Irish-based multi-national firms in the coming days in a bid to entice them to continue their operations in this country.

The meetings took place as the chief executive of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland, Mark Redmond, rejected claims an exodus of Irish-based firms is imminent due to Mr Trump’s controversial tax plans.

While urging people not to be “alarmist” about the future of 700 American companies in Ireland and the 140,000 jobs they provide as the Chamber is “constantly engaging” with US groups, Mr Redmond could not say if the Chamber is speaking directly with anyone in Mr Trump’s inner circle as “quite frankly the world doesn’t know” who they are.

Meanwhile, EU foreign ministers met yesterday to agree new security strategies for the common market area in light of the US election.

Officials agreed to improve supports for non-EU nations at risk of potential unrest in the east and to “tighten” legal oversight in other countries

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