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Ireland Welcomes Islamic Finance

by Robert Lee, Tax-News.com, London

07 June 2011


Ireland is looking to expand into Islamic finance, according to Prime Minister Enda Kenny, who argues that recent legislative changes are paving the way.

Speaking at the Irish Funds Industry Association Annual International Conference on June 2, Kenny said the government was determined to build upon the success of the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), established in 1989.

He stressed that "with close to 25 years expertise and experience, Ireland is proud to be one of the world's leading locations for international investment funds", and cited figures showing the strength of the country's fund industry. According to Kenny, the industry grew by over 30% in 2010, with the value of funds administered rising from EUR1.4 trillion in the previous year to reach EUR1.88 trillion.

In particular, one area the government is targeting for expansion is Islamic finance. Kenny said: "Ireland has recognized its importance in the global financial system through adapting our tax system and financial regulatory system to ensure a level playing field between Islamic finance and conventional measures. We are determined to ensure that the IFSC is a centre of excellence for Islamic finance and the changes in recent Finance Acts will support its development."

He added, "Ireland has been active in concluding double taxation agreements with important Islamic States, including recently Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and the UAE. The Central Bank of Ireland has also said that it is open to the establishment of Islamic finance institutions in Ireland and it has already authorized a number of Sharia-compliant funds. Islamic finance is one of the major growth areas in international finance and the government is playing its role to support the development of this sector in Ireland."

TAGS: tax | investment | Ireland | financial services | investment funds | legislation | regulation | islamic finance | services

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