Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny met with Apple CEO Tim Cook during a surprise visit to the company’s Cork headquarters.
Kenny and Cook, who replaced Steve Jobs in 2011, met for about 30 minutes to discuss the issue of corporation tax and about the company’s future plans for its Irish operation.
The prime minister reassured the Apple boss that Ireland operated “a very transparent, statutory based rate of 12.5 per cent” and that would continue.
“I also made the point that the change announced in the budget by the Minster for Finance in terms of statelessness and companies, I pointed out to Tim Cook that Ireland as a member of the European Union is participating in the OECD discussions on this issue.
“These discussions which are taking place are about an international response in terms of clarity about the tax position - there are 15 different sectors involved in that and Ireland is participating in them all,” Kenny told the Irish Times.
“My point is that our rate is 12.5 per cent and we don’t do specific deals with companies and clearly the company themselves are always in contact with the revenue commissioners about any changes in structures that they may wish to discuss with the revenue commissioners.”
When asked about Apple’s alleged use of the “Double Irish” mechanism to reduce their taxes town effective 2 percent tax rate at its Irish affiliates, the prime minister said that the country had no special deals with Apple.
“At a European Council meeting last year, there was a very clear agreement around the European Council table that the issue of corporates being involved in different jurisdictions requires an international response.
“And that is why the OECD have taken the lead in working with countries to produce an international response that provides clarity and transparency for everybody and Ireland is participating in that.”
About 4,000 people work at Apple’s Cork operation, making it one of the country’s biggest employers.The company recently completed a new facility there to support its growing business across Europe.
Said the prime minister: “Tim Cook said he was extremely happy with the outcome, the productivity and the energy coming off the potential of the workers here in Cork ... we discussed the operations of Apple worldwide and clearly there are number of markets which are growing very rapidly.
“And so from that point of view, it’s a matter for Apple but for now, they are very happy with the new extension, very happy with the range and spectrum covered by the workforce here and they are exceptionally happy with their outcome and productivity.