Irish business in US; tariffs; and the future of tech at SXSW

Business Today: the best news, analysis and comment from ‘The Irish Times’ business desk

EU trade commissioner Ceclilia Malmström was left frustrated at attempts to tie down an exemption over the weekend from US President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminium. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo

EU trade commissioner Ceclilia Malmström was left frustrated at attempts to tie down an exemption over the weekend from US President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminium. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo

 

Ireland is the ninth largest inward investor to the United States in terms of foreign direct investment, according to figures for 2017, writes Charlie Taylor. And Enterprise Ireland data shows that nearly 800 Irish businesses employ more than 100,000 people in the US.

The figures come as EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström was left frustrated in a meeting over the weekend with US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, in which both she and her Japanese counterpart were pushing for exemptions from punitive tariffs on steel and aluminium imports announced by US president Donald Trump last week.

And Chris Johns writes that imposing the tariffs on steel and aluminium are top of the list of dumbest things to do, even for the economic nationalists looking to address the concerns of some of globalisation’s losers. There will be net job losses in the US as a result, he warns.

Elsewhere, Bank of Ireland says it plans to fund €144 million worth of purpose-built student accommodation over next two years, focusing on Dublin and Cork in particular. Eoin Burke-Kennedy has the details.

And shareholders in diamond producer Mountain Province Diamonds and exploration group Kennady Diamonds, both of which are linked to Irish financier Dermot Desmond, will vote next month on whether to approve the merger of the two firms.

John Holden takes a look at the line-up at this year’s SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas, which is going back to basics, showcasing tech and innovation, after a more political tone to last year’s event.

And, finally, staying with technology, Pilita Clark takes a look at some of the weird and the wacky tech-driven ideas that could yet become a staple of the workplace in years to come.