Sunday 19 November 2017

Apple tax ruling is a grievous wound: CEOs

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager Photo: AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager Photo: AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias

Alex M Parker

A group representing some of the biggest corporations in the US has warned European leaders that forcing Ireland to collect €13bn in back taxes from Apple will hurt global trade and investment.

The letter, dated September 16, was sent by the Business Roundtable, a Washington-based advocacy group comprising chief executive officers of major US businesses - including the heads of GE, Boeing and IBM. It was sent to the heads of state of all 28 EU nations as well as EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, US Secretary of State John Kerry and US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

It described the Commission ruling that Ireland has supplied illegal state aid to Apple, and must now recoup €13bn as a "grievous self-inflicted wound" for the EU that will diminish the authority of its individual member countries and invite opportunistic tax enforcement from rival nations.

"Companies should have complete confidence that sovereign countries are committed to honoring their laws and agreements and have the authority to do so. This is fundamental," the letter said.

"In the interest of all countries that respect the rule of law, this decision must not be allowed to stand," wrote John Engler, former Republican governor of Michigan and president of the Business Roundtable said. "Absent reversal, other countries outside the EU will interpret the decision as acceptable governmental behavior and will put all companies with cross-border investments - including EU-headquartered companies - at risk of having their assets expropriated by foreign governments seeking extra revenue or seeking to punish a successful foreign competitor," he said.

Irish Independent

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