US Chamber chief calls on Government to hold firm on corporate tax rate

The new President of the American Chamber of Commerce Peter Keegan has today called on the Government to maintain Ireland's 12.5% corporate tax rate.

Ireland is under pressure to push ahead with the issue of a common corporate tax base across Europe, during our presidency of the EU.

So far, the Government has strongly resisted any move to change our low corporate tax rate, which is seen as key to attracting foreign investment.

Last week saw the beginning of six months of European events in Ireland as our presidency of the EU officially got underway.

EU Tax Commissioner Al-giras Semeta told an Oireachtas committee that the “day of isolated tax policy” in Europe is over and called on Ireland to push forward the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base.

To date, the Government has resisted any move to change our corporate tax rate - as it is seen as a fundamental part of our policy to attract foreign investment.

Today, the newly appointed President of the American Chamber of Commerce Mr Keegan - country executive with Bank of America Merrill Lynch agreed.

For us, the most important thing is we stick to our headline rate, the government makes sure that all companies who operate in Ireland are tax compliant, they properly apply all those rules," he said.

"But other than that, it's really going to be an international debate about where and how profits are taxed, and you'll find a lot of conflicting viewpoints on that."

The American Chamber has also expressed concern about the skills gap in Ireland - citing a lack of ICT and language skills as one of the main challenges to jobs growth here.

"Certainly in the short term, up to 50% of high-end skills, both technology, and indeed language skills, the companies have to recruit outside the country", said chief executive Joanne Richardson.

"That is confirmed by the Government's own ICT action plan last year, [and] our own workforce activation survey."

The Chamber is relatively positive for the year ahead and expects a number of FDI announcements, but its warning against any complacency in Government circles.

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