Business leaders fear what Trump presidency will mean for trade

11 Nov 201647 Shares

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Business leaders are cautious about what Donald Trump as president could mean for trade and investment. Image: Lev Radin/Shutterstock

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A protectionist trade approach and a simplified tax code could threaten the prospects for US companies investing in Ireland – a big fear for business leaders.

A study by PwC in the wake of the shock victory of US president-elect Donald Trump against Hillary Clinton reveals leaders are taking the news cautiously.

The main fear is that a protectionist regime could swing the balance towards companies investing in the US, and less so in overseas locations like Ireland.

‘We should not lose sight of the many non-tax advantages Ireland has to offer and we need to work hard to ensure our FDI offering remains first class’
– FEARGAL O’ROURKE

More than two-thirds are adamant that when the dust settles, Brexit will negatively affect the Irish economy.

Overwhelmingly, 94pc believe Ireland should not follow the UK and exit the EU.

Despite the bizarre turn of events in the US and UK in recent months, leaders are still confident of growth – with 52pc expecting to grow headcount in the year ahead.

The times are changing

“We now also have a new political leader in the US which will, no doubt, lead to a period of change,” said Feargal O’Rourke, PwC managing partner.

“Our 2016 Business Forum, ‘Business…but not as usual’, focused on the impacts of geopolitical uncertainty and what businesses should do to manage effectively in an increasingly volatile external environment.

“The results of the US election highlight just how timely and relevant this theme was for business.

“In an Irish context, we will be very interested in what a Trump presidency will mean for tax reform and trade.

“If a new protectionist trade approach is implemented, allied to a simplified US tax code, this could swing the balance towards investing in the US and represent a challenge for Ireland.

“However, we should not lose sight of the many non-tax advantages Ireland has to offer and we need to work hard to ensure our FDI offering remains first class,” O’Rourke said.

Trump on campaign. Image: Lev Radin/Shutterstock

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com