Jean-Claude Juncker says EU decision to hit Apple with 13bn tax bill was not unfair attempt to single out US firms
Claims that an EU decision to present Apple with a 13bn (11bn) tax bill was designed as an attack on the US have been rejected by the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker.
Last weeks ruling that the American tech giant must settle the massive tax bill with Ireland has gone down badly in Washington, with the US Treasury warning that the move risked damaging the important spirit of economic partnership between the US and the EU.
However, speaking on Sunday at the start of the G20 summit, in the Chinese city of Hangzhou, Juncker rejected the idea that European authorities were unjustly singling out US companies and said the ruling was clearly based on facts.
Commission investigations on taxation had mainly focused on European targets, he said, according to Reuters.
This is not a decision against the United States of America, Juncker told reporters. It would be absurd to choose this territory of state taxation to attack the USA, he added, according to AFP. We are applying the rules We are basing our decisions on facts and on the legislation.
Both Apple and Ireland have said they will appeal against the EU ruling, which the Apple chief executive, Tim Cook, labelled total political crap.
They just picked a number from I dont know where, Cook said after Tuesdays announcement. In the year that the commission says we paid that tax figure, we actually paid $400m. We believe that makes us the highest taxpayer in Ireland that year.
Relations between Washington and Brussels have been tested by a series of anti-trust inquiries focusing on US technology firms such as Apple and Google that some have branded anti-American.
Speaking before President Barack Obamas arrival in Hangzhou on Saturday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said: We need to find a way to make the global system of taxation more fair [But] we also need to find a system that is fairer to companies who are looking to do business around the world.
And the US government is not going to hesitate to speak out in support of US companies that are looking to do business around the world. Thats good for the US economy, thats good for US workers, but also benefits the international economy.
The US wanted to ensure that there arent entities or countries acting unilaterally in ways that exacerbate inequities in the global tax structure, Earnest added.