US Treasury repeats concerns over EU tax rules with Noonan

Apple ruling threatens to ‘undermine’ Europe’s business climate, says US Treasury head

 US Treasury secretary Jack Lew: He told Minister for Finance Michael Noonan in Washington that the European Commission was retroactively applying “a sweeping new state aid theory that is contrary to well-established legal principles”. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

US Treasury secretary Jack Lew: He told Minister for Finance Michael Noonan in Washington that the European Commission was retroactively applying “a sweeping new state aid theory that is contrary to well-established legal principles”. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

 

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan discussed continuing EU state aid investigations affecting American firms during a meeting with US Treasury secretary Jack Lew in Washington.

The meeting on Monday came almost a week after Ireland lodged an appeal against the EU’s €13 billion tax ruling against Apple.

The US Treasury said in a statement that Mr Lew repeated his concerns during his meeting with Mr Noonan that the European Commission was retroactively applying “a sweeping new state aid theory that is contrary to well-established legal principles, calls into question the tax rules of individual counties and threatens to undermine the overall business climate in Europe.”

The commission slapped the bill on the world’s largest company after it ruled that the firm and the Irish tax authorities had agreed tax arrangements that amount to illegal state aid, a finding challenged by the Government.

Mr Lew stressed in his meeting with Mr Noonan that the countries shared the goal of addressing corporate tax avoidance and highlighted the “meaningful progress” the United States and the EU have already made with the international community on this issue.

The two finance ministers also discussed economic developments in Ireland, the euro area and the global economy, including Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

“Secretary Lew reiterated that the United States is committed to continuing to work with the European Union and the United Kingdom to ensure sustained economic stability and shared, global prosperity as the EU and the UK negotiate their future economic relationship,” the US Treasury said.

“The Secretary underscored that a transparent, smooth and co-operative process that results in a highly integrated economic relationship is in the best interest of Europe, the United States and the global economy.”

‘Smooth transition’

Mr Trump wants to overhaul the US corporate tax regime, reducing the tax rate for American businesses from the current level of 35 per cent to 15 per cent – a move that one of the Republican’s campaign advisers to lead to US companies returning from Ireland.

The Department of Finance made no comment following Mr Noonan’s meeting with Mr Lew and he has declined to give any interviews on his US trip.

Mr Noonan also attended meetings at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank on Monday. He is due to meet companies and investors on his US trip, including several large American companies based in Ireland. He has no public speaking engagements on the trip.