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Brussels’ record-breaking tax penalty of up to €13bn against Apple has opened the door for European and US revenue authorities to claim their own share of the bill handed to the company. After the EU found the US tech group had enjoyed a quarter of a century of illegal state support from Ireland, the stage is set for a bruising transatlantic tussle, one which pits Silicon Valley against Brussels, with US tax authorities in between.
The huge bill for back taxes — to which interest must be added — is at the extreme end of expectations.
In an open letter to Apple customers, Tim Cook, chief executive, said the ruling threatened to deal a “devastating blow” to the principle of legal certainty in Europe.
“We never asked for, nor did we receive, any special deals. We now find ourselves in the unusual position of being ordered to retroactively pay additional taxes to a government that says we don’t owe them any more than we’ve already paid.”
US officials, for their part, said 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”. (FT)
In the news
Donald Trump’s team vows ‘disruptive’ economic plan Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is planning to unveil a wide-ranging economic plan that includes calls to rebuild infrastructure, overhaul the tax system and deregulate sectors such as energy. Trump’s economic team includes the heads of hedge funds and real estate funds and others from private equity. (FT)
Alphabet executive quits Uber board Alphabet’s David Drummond has stepped down from Uber’s board, highlighting the widening divide between the two companies as they compete in areas such as driverless cars. Alphabet became one of Uber’s largest investors in 2013 when it invested $258m in an early fundraising round, but the companies have since become fierce competitors. (FT)
Tokyo to delay Tsukiji fish market move Japan’s world-renowned Tsukiji fish market will not be moving anywhere until concerns about soil contamination at the proposed new site can be addressed. The market opened in 1935 and any delay in the market’s move — intended to make way for a new road — could affect preparations for the 2020 Olympics. (NAR)
Hong Kong research crackdown fuels free speech fears A security regulator’s crackdown on negative research is causing growing concerns of a chilling effect, especially at a time when freedom of speech is already seen as under threat. Some investors are concerned that the rulings will further erode public debate in Hong Kong. (FT)
Poland woos London bankers Poland has become the latest country to woo some of Britain’s biggest banks in the wake of the Brexit vote with a charm offensive in London this week to lure City institutions to Warsaw. The Polish deputy prime minister will arrive on Thursday armed with a package of incentives to offer senior executives at banks that have shown an interest in shifting jobs to the continent. (FT)
FT explainer: can the US election really be hacked? Authorities in Illinois and Arizona say their voter registration databases were infiltrated by foreign actors. The good news is that most states have policies in place to ensure vote totals are correct. The bad news is that a hacker doesn’t have to manipulate the tally to affect the outcome (FT)
It’s a big day for
Brazil interest rates Brazil’s central bank Monetary Policy Committee is meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, with investors keeping a close eye on any policy change to interest rates. The benchmark Selic rate is at a near-decade high of 14.25 per cent. (FT)
Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s weekahead.
Food for thought
Deciphering North Korea’s ties with China The Chinese characters scrubbed from road signs hint at changing relations between Beijing and Pyongyang, as seen by a Nikkei reporter on a recent visit to North Korea’s border region. (NAR)
FT View: Asia leads emerging market recovery Cautious optimism about middle-class spending is helping growth in the region to surge. Not only do the numbers solidify Asia’s place as the fastest-growing region but their importance extends across the world. (FT)
Driverless cars to display road etiquette with emojis You honk, they smile, wink or nod. A self-driving car star-up in Silicon Valley wants to use emojis as a response to the feedback — negative or otherwise — they might receive from the human drivers with whom they’re sharing the road. (FT)
The worst career advice I’ve ever heard is also the most common It’s time to stop listening to the advice that tells jobseekers to do whatever you have to to get the job and ignore their needs at the office. “Smart leaders know they need talented people.” (Forbes)
What can stop the driverless revolution? Brilliant technologies transform the magical into the banal, writes John Thornhill. As it has been with electricity, space flight and the internet, so it is likely to prove with driverless cars. But two obstacles block their widespread adoption, one technological and the other human. (FT)
Video of the day
The EU’s action over Apple tax, explained The FT explains the European Commission’s decision to hit Apple with a record-breaking tax penalty. (FT)
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