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Ireland Won't Change Corporate Tax Rate: Finance Minister

Ireland's 12.5 percent corporate tax rate is "not negotiable," Finance Minister Michael Noonan told CNBC Tuesday.

That's despite costing the nation in higher interest payments under the bailout agreement with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.

"What we’re being asked to do is change [the corporate tax rate] for the sake of the lower interest rate" payment, Noonan said. "We’d rather pay the higher interest rate, and we continue to pay it if the quid pro quo is any change in the tax rate. It is not negotiable."

Noonan is in New York to speak to American businesses the same day euro-zone finance ministers are meetingare discussing a second financing package for Greece a day after both Moody's and Standard & Poor's downgraded Greek debt. He said another member of the ministry will be representing Ireland at the meeting.

Noonan said he is in New York to tell American business that Ireland is "completely different from Greece," even though he believes Greece will not default on its debt and that a "satisfactory arrangement" will be worked out by the European Union to prevent a restructuring. "We don’t want a credit event that has a contagion effect on Ireland," Noonan said.

He added, "I want to tell [Wall Street] the strengths of the [Irish] economy and take their advice, because sometimes in Europe you can’t see the woods for the trees. At least when you’re in New York and look back you see the woods."