TTIP might be a dead duck now that the US presidency has been given to Donald Trump, who already declared his intention to revoke all US trade agreements. Trump's surprise victory sent world markets into a downward spin, the sharpest fall since Brexit was passed earlier this year. His conciliatory acceptance speech prompted a slight recovery, averting a crisis. Investors are worried about the stability of their US holdings because Trump's rhetoric to date has not inspired confidence. Now that he has achieved the unthinkable, there will be an onus on him to show something he has kept hidden, a steady pair of hands.
Ex Taoiseach John Bruton does not see a positive outcome for Ireland or the world after Trump's election: “The results of some of the promises that Trump made during the campaign could be disastrous for American jobs. If the markets fall and if there is a decline in foreign direct investment, and I think you'll see the TTIP is probably dead, the Trans-Pacific Trade agreement is dead as a result of this election result, and that's going to freeze trade. And as a country Ireland depends disproportionately on trade. 100% of our GDP is represented by exports and anything that hits trade hits Ireland even harder, and that of course reduces the flow of resources for settling pay claims.”
Bruton told Newstalk: “It has proved everybody wrong.” He said that Trump had formed a “new coalition” whereby the old traditional Republican combination of “big business with former confederate states in the south” had been kept and that Trump “has added industrial heartlands of the US.” Mr Bruton said the new president “will try to implement his program very promptly” and that the immediate concern is his threat of “slapping a large tariff on Mexican imports and on Chinese imports to the United States, which could trigger a trade war.” Mr Bruton added that the “era of the careful politician has ended” and that this is “a victory for populism.” He said that although Trump sounded more conciliatory in his acceptance speech, the implications for Ireland are clear, recalling how Margaret Thatcher invoked St Francis of Assisi during her acceptance speech.
Asked about the implications of Trump's presidency for Irish farming exports, the IFA said they had “no comment at this early stage.”
Fergal O'Rourke of PriceWaterhouseCooper, reminded listeners to RTE of Trump's promise to cap income tax at 33% and business tax at 15%, “to eliminate the tax advantage of foreign direct investment”, a move O'Rourke anticipates is “intended to encourage businesses back to US.” He tried to calm listeners' fears by saying “many companies here have huge global footprint,” adding that they are unlikely to react before taking 5-6 months to review the situation. He did say that Trump's “protectionist policies will reduce global trade and Ireland tends to suffer when global trade drops disproportionately” and predicted a “rocky road ahead.”
US Ambassador Kevin O'Malley continued the message of calm, saying, “US-Irish relations are built on shared DNA.” He added, “so many Americans trace our roots to [Ireland]” that the “huge economic bridge between two countries [is] becoming broader and stronger.” Asked about tax rates he said, “that is a legislative issue, not a given, American multi-nationals didn't come here for a tax haven, there are a lot of reasons why these companies are doing so well.”