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Donald Trump says 'he hears' Ireland is about to drop its corporation tax rate to 8%

The US president made the unscheduled remarks at the White House this evening.

Trump Donald Trump, speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House earlier this evening Alex Brandon / PA Images Alex Brandon / PA Images / PA Images

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump this evening claimed that Ireland is set to drop its corporation tax rate.

Trump is campaigning for a drop in America’s own rate of 35% to 20%, and has been arguing that the US must do so in order to remain commercially competitive.

In an (unscheduled) speech in the White House’s Rose Garden, alongside Senate Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell, Trump embarked on a tangent of justification for such a move, including namechecking Ireland’s rate, and seemingly contradicting Paschal Donohoe’s Budget from last Tuesday.

“You look at other countries and what they’ve done, and we’re competing with other countries,” he said. “When China is at 15% and I hear that Ireland is going to be reducing their corporate rates down to 8% from 12%.”

Trump Trump and McConnell fielding questions in the Rose Garden Pablo Martinez Monsivais / PA Images Pablo Martinez Monsivais / PA Images / PA Images

You have other countries also reducing. We can’t be at 35% and think we’re going to remain competitive in terms of companies and jobs.

The president also took the time to say that his relationship with McConnell (the most senior republican in the Senate, and reportedly a man whom Trump hasn’t spoken to in months) is “outstanding”.

Regarding Ireland’s tax rate (which is 12.5%, not 12%), it seems entirely unlikely that a change to such a key government figure would be made with no fanfare, not least because Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe last Tuesday insisted in his Budget speech that the figure would remain unchanged:

“Our position is clear,” Donohoe said last week.

The 12.5% tax rate is, and will remain, a core part of our offering.

So the president may have been misinformed, to put it charitably. Not for the first time. was unable to gain clarity from the Department of Finance regarding this matter this evening.

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