Ireland needs assurances that a global minimum corporate tax rate will not be changed and will be implemented by all countries signing up to it, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said.
The Minister for Enterprise and Trade made the remarks as he addressed an audience – including representatives of US business – at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC.
His visit comes against a backdrop of huge uncertainty over the future of Ireland’s 12.5 per cent corporation tax rate. Ireland is under pressure to sign up to an OECD deal that would see the introduction of a minimum global rate of at least 15 per cent.
The Irish Times reports that when it was put to Mr Varadkar that the days of the 12.5 per cent rate are gone, he did not accept that that was necessarily the case.
“I can’t say that at this stage. As things stand we don’t have an international agreement on corporation tax.”
Mr Varadkar added that Ireland is willing to be part of one “if it’s in our interest” but said: “We’re not going to allow a situation whereby there is an agreement and some countries implement it and some countries don’t, so there’s a long way to travel yet on this, I think.”
The Government is likely to agree to an increase in Ireland’s corporate tax rate but only if the OECD will limit the text to “15 per cent” and not “at least 15 per cent”.
Mr Varadkar is using the two-day trip to tell business that Ireland remains a “fantastic” location for investment.
On Brexit, Mr Varadkar said the Withdrawal Agreement and the Northern Ireland protocol have “ensured we have avoided the worst of what Brexit could have wrought on us”.
He said he still hopes that the ongoing dispute over the protocol can be resolved in a “calm, sensible way” that doesn’t result in a “showdown”.
Mr Varadkar was expected to discuss trade with his counterparts in the Biden administration on Monday night.