U.S. banks and other foreign institutions may not change the way they view Ireland anytime soon, in spite of the country's decision to raise corporate taxes on outsiders.

Indeed, the recent decision by Citigroup's Citibank to more than double the size of its Dublin back-office operations staff can stand as proof of the nation's continued popularity.

By 2003, a single corporate tax rate of 12.5% will apply to financial institutions, as well as to other businesses. This means a 2.5-percentage- point increase for the 200 international financial institutions in Dublin's 11-year-old International Financial Services Center, which until now benefited from a special agreement.

Citibank, which established a back-office presence there in 1996, said this month that it planned to add 1,300 employees to the 1,000 it now employs.

Ireland is considered a good place for back-office operations because of the quality of its labor force, which is well-educated, English-speaking, and plentiful, said a Dublin banker working for a U.S. bank.

Economic conditions add to the country's attractions.

The European Commission has estimated that Ireland's economy will grow 11.4% this year, almost five times the European Union average, and 8.2% next year.

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