The Apple of Ireland's eye? How the world reacted to EU tax ruling

One US paper suggests Apple "will barely feel" the tax bill

The Apple of Ireland's eye? How the world reacted to EU tax ruling

Composite image of international newspapers | Image: Jack Quann

Ireland is making world headlines after an EU Commission ruling on its tax deal with Apple.

The Government and Apple say they will launch appeals to have the ruling, which says the tech giant should pay €13bn plus interest - overturned in the European courts.

The Financial Times says the ruling "sparks angry reaction in US", with the US Treasury saying it was disappointed at what it called an "unfair" decision.

It warned that it could have wider ramifications.

"The Commission’s actions could threaten to undermine foreign investment, the business climate in Europe, and the important spirit of economic partnership between the US and the EU," the US Treasury said.

The ruling also prompted an angry response from members of US Congress, according to the paper.

An editorial piece in the International New York Times says: "In a display of arrogance, the company seemed to believe that its arrangements in a known tax haven like Ireland would never be deemed illegal - even as European regulators cracked down in similar cases against such multinational corporations as Starbucks, Amazon, Fiat and the German chemical giant BASF."

The Guardian suggests "tackling tax avoidance just got harder" as a result of the ruling.

"Some argue that (EU Competition Comissioner Margrethe) Vestager did more on Tuesday to damage than to assist this fragile international consensus on tackling tax avoidance", it says.

"Certainly her intervention has ruffled feathers and, in the short term at least, appears to offer a far from perfect resolution. That said, any serious effort to root out toxic tax behaviour is bound to create upset along the way".

The USA Today says Apple "will barely feel" the tax bill.

"For Apple, the $14.5 billion fine amounts to a mere 6% of its cash and investments of $232.4 billion as of June.

"Apple generates nearly four times more than the size of the tax penalty in free cash flow in just one year, making this $14.5 billion hit a little more than a financial annoyance."

While the Washington Post says: "The ruling is likely to rattle many U.S. corporate boardrooms where aggressive tax strategies have become standard practice".

Reuters cites a business group - The Business Roundtable, which represents US chief executives - who called the decision "an act of aggression" against a law-abiding US company and a sovereign government.

Members of both parties in the US Congress say the ruling shows there needs to be reform of the US tax system.

AFP reports that Apple shares "lost some of their shine after the ruling" - down 0.77% at the close of official trading on the Nasdaq - a more than 3% loss over the past two weeks.

And CNN reports on Cork itself, saying: "Apple employs 6,000 people in Ireland, many of them making iMacs at a factory in Cork -- once a deprived city in the south of Ireland. Apple says it is the biggest private employer in the city".