Thus far in his campaign, Donald Trump has accused a number of countries of stealing jobs from the US: Mexico, India and China especially.
Now, he has included Ireland in that category.
In a wide-ranging, and at times rambling, interview with the Washington Post’s Editorial board, Trump said: “Other countries are outsmarting us by giving them advantages, you know, like in the case of Mexico. In the case of many other countries. Like Ireland is, you’re losing Pfizer to Ireland, a great pharmaceutical company that with many, many jobs and it’s going to move to Ireland.”
The remarks came in response to a question from Fred Hiatt, the Washington Post’s editorial page editor, about whether Trump believed there are disparities in law enforcement.
Trump instead turned to the subject of other countries taking American jobs, saying:
“I’ve read where there are and I’ve read where there aren’t. I mean, I’ve read both. And, you know, I have no opinion on that. Because frankly, what I’m saying is you know we have to create incentives for people to go back and to reinvigorate the areas and to put people to work. And you know we have lost million and millions of jobs to China and other countries. And they’ve been taken out of this country, and when I say millions, you know it’s, it’s tremendous. I’ve seen 5 million jobs, I’ve seen numbers that range from 6 million to, to smaller numbers. But it’s many millions of jobs, and it’s to countries all over.
“Mexico is really becoming the new China. And I have great issue with that. Because you know I use in speeches sometimes Ford or sometimes I use Carrier – it’s all the same: Ford, Carrier, Nabisco, so many of the companies — they’re moving to Mexico now. And you know we shouldn’t be allowing that to happen. And tremendous unemployment, tremendous. They’re allowing tremendous people that have worked for the companies for a long time, they’re allowing, if they want to move around and they want to work on incentives within the United States, that’s one thing, but when they take these companies out of the United States.”
As the Washington Post noted in an annotated transcript of the interview, Trump did not get the story quite straight with Ireland.
In November, in what is known as a “reverse inversion,” Allergan, a smaller, Dublin-based pharmaceutical company that most notably produces Botox, acquired Pfizer, the US-based pharma giant behind Viagra and Lipitor. The $160 billion merger created what is now the largest pharmaceutical company in the world.
The merger will see Pfizer move its corporate headquarters to Dublin, which will allow it to take advantage of Ireland’s cushier corporate tax rate and save an estimated $1 billion each year.
That, rather than the loss of jobs, had been the main criticism surrounding the Allergan-Pfizer deal. As this Forbes article pointed out, the merger is not likely to result in major job losses, and the majority of the company’s work force will not be based in Ireland.
Trump has previously highlighted Ireland’s allure as a tax base for large corporations, vowing that he will entice them to return to America by lowering corporate taxes.
“We’re not going to be losing our companies,” he said in his post-Super Tuesday victory speech. “Our companies are leaving our country rapidly, whether it’s Carrier air conditioning, whether it’s Ford, whether it’s Eaton … Pfizer – great company – … they’re going to Ireland and there’s so many more.”
Watch the video here:
In that same speech, he also maintained that it would be no sweat for him to change the US corporate tax rate: “If I sat down with a few of the senators or a few of the congressmen, you could make a deal on that in 10 minutes if you knew what you were doing.”
At the time of the Pfizer-Allergan merger Hillary Clinton also spoke out against the practice of corporate tax inversions, saying in a statement:
“For too long, powerful corporations have exploited loopholes that allow them to hide earnings abroad to lower their taxes. Now Pfizer is trying to reduce its tax bill even further.
“This proposed merger, and so-called ‘inversions’ by other companies, will leave U.S. taxpayers holding the bag. As President, I will fight to reform our tax system to reward growth, innovation, and job creation here in the United States. We cannot delay in cracking down on inversions that erode our tax base.”
Do you think Trump’s suggestion that Ireland is stealing jobs from the US holds any weight? Do you believe he’d be able to change the corporate tax rate that easily? Share your thoughts in the comment section, below.