Irish Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has landed in Washington DC for a series of talks on trade and commerce as international scrutiny grows over whether or not the country will raise its corporate tax rate.
Varadkar, who also serves as Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, will meet with the US Chamber of Commerce on the trip and is set to seek to reassure business actors that Ireland remains a viable investment location.
Ireland is under pressure as one of the OECD members holding out on signing up to the minimum 15% global corporate tax rate agreed by 130 countries earlier this year.
On his trip to the US last week, Prime Minister Micheál Martin signalled that Ireland could raise its rate of 12.5%. This is currently a key enticement for many multinationals that have made the country their European base, but Martin ultimately refused to commit to a change. A key concern for Ireland is that the “minimum” provision could lead other actors to seek future increases.
Before he departed for the US, Varadkar stressed the importance of trade in fuelling the pandemic recovery, saying that Ireland’s attractiveness as a place for foreign investment would be vital in pushing for full employment.
Varadkar will also meet bilaterally with the US Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo, and the US Trade Representative, Ambassador Katherine Tai, to discuss several issues, including the EU-US Trade and Technology Council, the inaugural meeting of which is due to convene in Pittsburg later this week.
(Molly Killeen, EURACTIV.com)