Key takeaways from our March 14 executive roundtable with Ireland’s Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Leo Varadkar
Ireland is focused on maintaining its position as a prime destination for attracting U.S. foreign direct investment. Top priorities include: improving infrastructure, building more affordable housing, promoting skills development, and reducing personal taxation levels.
Brexit: The border issue remains paramount. Ireland insists that no physical infrastructure/border checks be imposed between Northern Ireland and the Republic. A “backstop” proposal – in which Northern Ireland remains in a common regulatory area with Ireland and the EU – would necessitate barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, which Theresa May’s government has signaled it can’t accept. While Ireland believes a transition period will be agreed at next week’s European council meeting, failure to address the Irish border issue will bedevil progress toward a mutually acceptable future agreement.
The U.S.-Ireland partnership will only grow in importance post-Brexit. Ireland is forging new alliances – with the Nordics and Baltics, among others - to offset traditional French and German protectionist tendencies.
Digital Taxation: Ireland believes work on this issue should be done at the OECD level and is concerned about the EU’s proposed digital turnover tax directive, expected to be released next week.