An EU ruling that Apple Inc must pay a huge tax bill to Ireland was clearly based on facts and existing rules and was not a decision aimed against the US, European Commission (EC) President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Sunday.
Last week, EU antitrust regulators -ordered Apple to pay up to 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) in taxes to the Irish -government after ruling that a practice of routing profits through Ireland was illegal state aid.
Apple's Chief Executive Tim Cook last week described the ruling as "total political crap," but France and Germany have come out to back Brussels on the decision.
Juncker said EC investigations on taxation had mainly targeted European companies.
The decision comes amid a coordinated global initiative to crack down on tax evasion by multinational companies, -spearheaded by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and -Development (OECD).
The ruling against the US tech company has pushed the issue into the limelight and raised the risk of significant pushback from the US, analysts said, where some lawmakers are saying the result represents a European -encroachment on the US potential tax base.
In separate comments to Reuters on the sidelines of the G20 summit on Saturday, Pascal Saint-Amans, director of the OECD Center for Tax Policy and Administration, called Apple's tax planning "outrageous" but, like Juncker, said the decision was based on enforcing regulations.
Saint-Amans said he believed it would be unlikely to serve as a precedent for enforcement on future income earned by multinationals.
Juncker's remarks appeared designed to reassure US lawmakers, who have argued for years over the treatment of offshore income but now fear that the EC move would mean more profits earned by US corporations flowing into European tax coffers.
"This is not a decision against the United States of America," said Juncker.
Ireland's cabinet agreed on Friday to join Apple in appealing against the tax demand, Reuters reported.
Ireland's Finance Minister Michael Noonan has insisted Dublin would fight any adverse ruling ever since the European Union began investigating Apple's Irish tax affairs in 2014, arguing that it had to protect a tax regime that has attracted large numbers of multinational employers, said Reuters.
On August 31, he failed to persuade a group of independent lawmakers, whose support is vital for the minority government, to agree to fight the ruling by European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager that Apple's low tax arrangements in Ireland constitute illegal state aid, according to Reuters.
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