eyeing more services with new support base in Ireland

US Internet retailer will employ 450 people at its new Irish support center, which will help customers on its British and French Web sites, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said about 150 people, including many French citizens, have already been recruited to work at the center near Cork Airport in southwest Ireland . It will handle orders, emails and telephone calls from customers who use and, the report said.

The Irish government's Investment and Development Agency offered a confidential package of aid to woo it to Ireland rather than Britain, France or a low-tax rival in Eastern Europe, the report said.

The Associated Press report further quoted Enterprise, Trade and Employment Minister Micheal Martin as saying that Amazon's arrival in Ireland 'enhances Ireland's reputation as a base for the most sophisticated global digital-media companies.'

Ireland has attracted a disproportionate share of foreign investment since the mid-1990s, including more than 500 US multinationals, which take advantage of Ireland's 12.5% tax rate on business profits, the report said.