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Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe says the global minimum corporate tax rate of 15 per cent proposed by the G7 is just a signpost.YVES HERMAN/Reuters

The global minimum corporate tax rate of 15 per cent proposed by the Group of Seven wealthy nations is just a signpost and it is too early to say whether agreement can be reached on that or any figure, Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said on Thursday.

In a major step toward a global deal, G7 finance ministers agreed last weekend to squeeze more money out of multinational companies, in part by backing a minimum global corporate tax rate of at least 15 per cent.

With a rate of 12.5 per cent that has helped attract some of the biggest multinationals to the country, Ireland has more to lose than most from the overhaul and Donohoe said much further work was still required to reach a deal among Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development countries.

“It’s important to recognize that this is just a signpost. In the discussions that could yet develop in the OECD, other countries will be making the case for a rate that is higher than 15 per cent,” Donohoe told a news conference.

“If the rate is higher than 15 per cent it may well have an impact on a broader group of countries. It’s still too early at this point to be able to say that agreement can be reached on a figure and if it can that the figure is going to be 15 per cent.”

Donohoe reiterated that he believed an agreement would be reached but not until later this year.

With OECD officials limbering up for a clash over exemptions and other carve-outs for specific sectors or types of economic activity, Donohoe said he anticipated any final deal will allow companies to offset part of their tax bills through research and development, an important aspect for Ireland.

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