Yesterday’s first ever meeting between Apple CEO and French President Emmanuel Macron involved discussion of Apple’s support for local startups and French economic reforms — which could result in Apple having to pay more in the countries where it operates.
Macron is one of many European leaders wanting to reform tax structures to make it more difficult for companies, including Apple, to avoid taxes by using complex shell company structures. He has previously accused tech giants of failing to contribute to a common good.
In August last year, the European Union handed Apple the massive tax bill of $15 billion, claiming that company took advantage of illegal state aid that allowed it to route profits through Ireland.
According to a report of Tim Cook’s meeting with Macron yesterday, Tim Cook didn’t “push back” against arguments that tech giants should pay more taxes, although the specifics of the tax dispute weren’t discussed. Cook did, however, accept that fiscal laws around the world are changing to ensure that companies pay tax in the countries where the money is actually earned.
Apple also revealed that it will play some part in Station F, a giant startup campus which opened earlier this year in Paris. It’s not clear what Apple will do in terms of its involvement, although in places such as India it has already opened app accelerator workshops to help promote local developers.
Finally, the meeting touched on themes including climate change and education, which are likely common ground between Macron and Cook.
From the sound of things, the meeting went well, although it was relatively short (45 minutes) and to the point. Macron has already met with the heads of Alibaba Group Holding, Google, Facebook, and Cisco since becoming president back in May.
Cook’s visit to France
Aside from meeting Emanuel Macron late afternoon yesterday local time, Tim Cook visited a company which produces optical recognition components for the iPhone X, as well as paying his respects to those American troops who had made the “ultimate sacrifice” during World War II at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial.