Letter from America



#IbecUSA campaign meets US representatives on trade, tariffs and tax


• ‘Ireland and the US: A Win-Win’ publication launched in Washington


• Ibec opposes EU Commission’s newly proposed digital tax



Led by CEO Danny McCoy and President Edel Creely engaged in a comprehensive series of public meetings and private discussions with US administration officials and senior US business representatives in Washington DC during the week leading up to St Patrick’s Day.

Some highlights from the #IbecUSA campaign included representations to Congress, the permanent government, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and White House adviser Gail Slater, whose brief includes technology, telecommunications and cybersecurity.

Ibec CEO Danny McCoy attended the New York Stock Exchange ‘Ireland Day’, organised by Ireland Inc, in the company of many great Irish corporations who are scaling up in the USA. On business to business, our briefings in Washington included those with GlobalWin, Information Technology Industry (ITI), the US Council for International Business, National Association of Manufacturers and the US Chamber of Commerce all of which proved to be insightful and timely. Meetings also took place with policy think tanks, Brookings and the Heritage Foundation.

In Washington, Ibec wrapped up its programme with a stakeholder event, which attracted many new and old friends, for the launch of a new Ibec publication, Ireland and the US: A Win Win. Read the publication here. Danny McCoy finished the week by delivering a keynote address at the Irish US Council St Patricks Day lunch in New York.

During the week in the US four issues dominated our discussions:

  1. US business is both optimistic and confident and has normalised around day to day change at the White House.
  2. Protectionism is a key and consistent feature of the Trump Administration’s policy agenda and an issue on which he will be predictable in his zeal.
  3. Recognition that Ireland is more pivotal than ever on key global policy issues in the context of Brexit, but concerns of economic governance within Europe specifically on the issues of Data and Digital tax.
  4. Despite political tensions that pervade, business remains committed to finding solutions through multilateral structures such as the OECD and WTO.

The issue of digital taxation is set to run following proposals by the EU Commission to introduce a unilateral ‘interim’ tax. Ibec expressed concern at the measure, which is both poorly timed and ill-judged. The proposed measures risk undermining the OECD’s BEPS initiative and inflaming an already tense standoff with the US administration. Ibec supports the position of the Irish Government and many other governments in favouring the multilateral approach adopted by the OECD.

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