‘No mass exodus’ of US firms from Ireland likely, says Trump adviser

Stephen Moore says Irish ‘tax advantage’ will remain even after president-elect’s proposals

Donald Trump's plans to overhaul the US corporate tax system will not lead to a "mass exodus" of American multinationals from Ireland, the president-elect's senior economic adviser has said.

Speaking to The Irish Times at an event in Washington, conservative economist Stephen Moore said he was hopeful that, under Mr Trump, the US corporate tax rate would fall to somewhere between 15 and 20 per cent from the current 35 per cent, though Ireland would still have "a tax advantage" with its 12.5 per cent rate.

“When American companies leave, we would sure like to see as many of them come back as we can possibly get, but I don’t think you are going to see a mass exodus from Ireland,” he said.

Mr Moore said last week that a “flood” of companies would be attracted back to the US from Ireland.

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Tax reform

In a discussion titled Tax Reform in the New Washington hosted by media outlet Politico on Tuesday, Mr Moore said he believed that, with the backing of the Republican-led Congress and Democrats who wanted the US tax system changed, new legislation could pass in the first 150 days of Mr Trump's administration.

“I think we could get it through in a month,” he said, pointing out that 80 per cent of Mr Trump’s plan overlapped with proposals made by Republicans in the US House of Representatives.

Tax reform could pass under "the label of a jobs Bill" by introducing a 10 per cent repatriation tax on billions of dollars in profits held by US multinationals offshore that could raise "somewhere in the neighbourhood of $100 billion" for infrastructure, he told an audience at the event near the White House.

Peter Roskam, a Republican congressman from Illinois and a chairman of the powerful House ways and means oversight committee on Capitol Hill, said there was a national consensus and cross-party support in Congress to overhaul the American tax code. "I am actually expecting this to happen," he said.

Meanwhile, a meeting between Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Mr Trump is being sought. Mr Kenny is travelling to New York and San Francisco for a trade mission at the end of the month.

Kenny-Trump meeting

A Government spokesman said Mr Kenny had “no plans at present” to meet Mr Trump and no official request had been made. However, it is understood backroom efforts are under way to secure a meeting between the two.

Senior sources said Embassy officials are trying various avenues to assess whether a face-to-face encounter can be facilitated. Mr Kenny will be in New York from December 1st-3rd. Mr Trump is living in Trump Towers in the city.

The Taoiseach was one of only nine world leaders to speak to Mr Trump within 24 hours of his election and the only leader of a European Union member state to speak to him the day after his resounding victory.

White House invite

He also received the first invite to the White House from Mr Trump after the president-elect asked him to travel for St Patrick’s Day, continuing a tradition that dates back to 1952.

The Irish Times understands Mr Kenny informed Mr Trump of his impending visit during the phone call scheduled between the two last week.

The president-elect said he could not be certain where he would be at the time but agreed the two should try to meet.

A protest is to be staged on Thursday at the US embassy in Dublin against Mr Trump’s election. People before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said his success was a shocking wake-up call for the whole world.

“Trump has won the election by stirring up base hatred and prejudice against immigrants, ethnic minorities, Muslims, women and LGBT people,” he said.

The protest, which is to begin at 6pm, is being supported by United Against Racism, the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment and Friends of the Earth.

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is The Irish Times’s Public Affairs Editor and former Washington correspondent