October 18, 2017 / 3:45 PM / a year ago

"Fake news!": Ireland rebukes Trump over corporate tax claim

DUBLIN, Oct 18 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump's assertion that he had heard Ireland was going to cut its already low corporate tax rate is "fake news", Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Wednesday.

Trump raised a few eyebrows in Ireland on Monday when he told reporters at the White House: "I hear that Ireland is going to be reducing their corporate rates down to 8 percent from 12."

"I can confirm that President Trump's claim that we are proposing to reduce our corporation profit tax to 8 percent is indeed fake news. There is no such plan to do so," Varadkar told parliament in answer to a question on Trump's comments.

Ireland's 12.5 percent corporate tax rate has long made it a hub for investment from major U.S. multinationals like Google and Facebook and a target for criticism from U.S. politicians.

Irish policymakers have responded by consistently stressing that the corporate tax rate will neither go up or down and the rate was reaffirmed just last week in the government's budget for 2018.

"Our corporate profit tax is 12.5 percent, has been for a very long time through changes of government, through recessions and through periods of growth, and it as much that certainty that is as important to business as anything else," Varadkar said.

Trump has said he would like to see the U.S. corporate income tax rate reduced to 20 percent from 35 percent, in part to better compete with lower tax jurisdictions like Ireland. (Reporting by Padraic Halpin; editing by Peter Graff)

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