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The Irish Finance Minister wants a clear indication from the U.S. Congress before agreeing.

Ireland wants a proposed global minimum tax rate of 15 percent on corporate profits to be a ceiling, not a floor. Senior Irish officials told POLITICO that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s draft agreement is unacceptable to Ireland in part because it says countries would need to charge “at least” 15 percent on company profits.

Dublin spelled out its bottom line this week as EU Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni held face-to-face talks with Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe. Irish officials have also said they don’t want to accept any deal until it’s clear what the U.S. Congress will authorize. The fear that the European Commission could pressure Dublin to raise its rates higher than 15 percent, potentially as high as the 21 percent rate sought by U.S. President Joe Biden. For that reason, Donohoe is unlikely to sign up to any deal until the U.S. Congress decides whether to support or reject Biden’s 21 percent plans.

U.S. multinationals add pressure on Ireland to agree

Major US companies have told Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe that Ireland would be unwise to stay out of a global tax deal if an agreement emerges on taxing business profits around the world. The intervention by the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland comes as the Minister faces international pressure to accept OECD proposals for a global 15 percent corporate tax rate.

The plan is highly problematic for Mr Donohoe. His insistence for years on defending the Irish 12.5 per cent rate that has long been a source of friction with Europe. But the country has used that low rate to woo several hundred U.S. multinationals to its shores. And so the Irish are resisting all pressure as it remains one of a handful of holdouts to the emerging global accord. The OECD is to agree the global tax rate at next month’s G20 summit.

Paschal Donohoe told The Irish Times that he will not put an end to “tax competition”, and Ireland will remain competitive globally. “This competitiveness … is not only connected to this difference in minimum taxation, that will in any case remain,” he said.

“It is also connected to achievements that the country reached in terms of skills, education, university, business environment.”