Foreign investment will help post-pandemic employment drive – Varadkar

Tánaiste’s heads to US as future of Ireland’s corporate tax rate remains uncertain

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar: going to Washington DC. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said Ireland's attractiveness for foreign investment will help the drive efforts to achieve full employment after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Varadkar, the Minister for Enterprise, made the remarks ahead of a trip to the United States where he will meet his counterparts in the Biden administration as well as business groups.

The visit to Washington DC comes against a backdrop of 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 Government has difficulty with the “at least” wording and have held off on signing up to the deal in the absence of more certainty on the rate into the future.

Mr Varadkar will hold meetings with US secretary of commerce Gina Raimondo and ambassador Katherine Tai, United States trade representative.

The Biden administration is supportive of the draft OECD deal but it will have to be approved by Congress where the Democrats have a slim majority.

Mr Varadkar said: “Trade will be crucial in helping us recover and build better than before once the pandemic is over.

“Like the last economic crisis, it will be our attractiveness as a place to invest, our reputation and our reliability that will help us reach full employment.”

Roundtable meeting

The visit to Washington will be his first as Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment and the first post-Brexit.

Mr Varadkar will take part in a roundtable meeting with the US chamber of commerce and speak at an event, “Twin Transitions: Ireland and the Transatlantic Economic Recovery” at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

His engagements with the Biden administration come ahead of the upcoming Trade and Technology Council meeting between the EU and US.

This meeting is seen as an important step in reforging the Atlantic alliance between the US and Europe.

Amid the uncertainty over corporation tax the Government has been highlighting how Ireland’s EU membership, its status as the largest remaining English speaking member post-Brexit and educated workforce as part of the pitch for inward investment.

Mr Varadkar said: “Ireland will continue to be a valued partner for the many US businesses who choose us as their second home.

“Especially in today’s highly competitive international environment, we will never take for granted investment and will carry on doing all we can to win new investments and maintain those we have.”

There are 900 US companies in Ireland employing 180,000 people and almost 1,000 companies of Irish origin employing 110,000 workers in the US.

Mr Varadkar said Ireland is the ninth largest source of foreign direct investment into the US and said this is “a remarkable achievement for a country and economy approximately 1/70th the size of the US.”

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times