American chamber hits out at ‘unfair’ spotlight on multinationals’ tax treatment
Survey shows 1,400 open positions at 100 US firms operating in Ireland
Peter Keegan, president of the the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland, and guest speaker broadcaster and filmmaker Philip King at the annual Independence Day luncheon in the Four Seasons Hotel, Dubin yesterday. Photograph: Frank Miller
Criticism of Ireland’s treatment of multinational companies for tax has been based on “vague accusation and a poor understanding of global commerce”, the head of the US business lobby said yesterday.
Addressing an Independence Day lunch, Peter Keegan said: “The fact is this. Ireland is not some kind of get-rich-quick scheme for multinationals. Ireland is a valuable partner to corporate America and provides a vital gateway to Europe for these companies.
“The 115,000 people they employ testifies to those as does the longevity of their investment.”
His comments came as the chamber released details of a survey showing that there are 1,400 open vacancies at the 100 US companies in Ireland that responded. Almost six out of 10 respondents said they had increased their head count in Ireland over the past year and three-quarters were currently advertising vacancies.
“The skills gaps that had been identified two years ago are now less prevalent,” Mr Keegan said, with 60 per cent of respondents able to meet all their recruitment requirements within Ireland. Most positions (69 per cent) are being filled within three months, the survey indicated.
Mr Keegan, who is president of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland and country manager for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said the debate on taxation of multinationals had “put Ireland in the spotlight internationally” .
“There is no doubt that the focus on Ireland has been unfair,” he said. However, he said it did not appear to have damaged Ireland’s standing among the 700-strong US companies operating in the country. Only 30 per cent of respondents to the survey felt the debate had impacted negatively on the State’s reputation within their organisations.
‘Transparent and robust’
“This suggests that in the corporate boardrooms there is an understanding that Ireland operates a transparent and robust tax regime, and that companies operate in accordance with the tax codes of the jurisdictions in which they are based,” Mr Keegan said.
He noted that 64 per cent of respondents had said they were satisfied with the Government’s response to the challenges “presented by the current tax debate”. He welcomed the ongoing commitment to the State’s “competitive” 12.5 per cent headline corporation tax regime.
Ireland, he said, now accounted for 10 per cent of all investment by US companies in Europe, with $204 billion having been invested to date.
Mr Keegan said that one area of concern was that of personal taxation. More than half of respondents said an increase in personal taxation would impact on potential future expansion plans.