The Taoiseach has said the Government is open to solutions to the international corporation tax debate that allow Ireland to compete fairly and which respect the legitimacy and sovereignty of our longstanding 12.5% corporate tax rate. 

Leo Vardakar made his comments at the annual American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland Thanksgiving lunch today.

Mr Vardakar said the Government is working to find a global consensus on how and where companies should be taxed. 

He said there is agreement that a stable and globally agreed international tax framework is vital to facilitate trade and investment.  

But he said there will be further change to the international tax framework, and the Government is determined to get it right. 

He added that the Government believes the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Inclusive Framework is the correct forum for this work to be carried out. 

"The European Union or any individual country acting unilaterally potentially hands an advantage either to the UK which is leaving or to other countries around the world, and we don't want to do that," he said. 

"But we do need to act globally on this issue because understandably citizens are asking politicians if I pay so much income tax why do corporations that earn so much more than me pay so much less and that is something we need to deal with on an international level," he stated.

Mr Vardakar also warned that Brexit would not end when the UK leaves the EU, most likely in January. 

"We have much work to do in the decade ahead, to build on what we have already agreed," he said. 

He said there are reasons to be thankful for what has been agreed to date through the Withdrawal Agreement.

The Taoiseach said it is an agreement that gives certainty to citizens and businesses and allows us to move on, adding that he does hope it will be ratified by the House of Commons in the next two months. 

"But it doesn't finish there, we just move onto the next phase, which is negotiating the new security, political and trading partnership between Ireland and the EU and also the UK," he said. 

He said he wants that relationship to involve seamless security and political co-operation. 

"I also want us to have a very close trading relationship," he said, adding that the Joint Political Declaration that has been agreed points to tariff and quota free trade, which he wants to happen. 

He also said he wants there to be a level playing field on minimum standards, around labour rights, health and safety and the environment, which he said he believes is possible.