Even as Apple braces for a European Union ruling on its tax arrangements with the Irish government, CEO Tim Cook said the outcome would not affect its investment in the country, where it is adding 1,000 jobs.
Cook was in Dublin on Wednesday as Ireland’s Industrial Development Agency announced the company would add a new building at its campus in Cork that will provide office space for an additional 1,000 employees by mid-2017. The expansion will bring Apple’s workforce in Ireland to more than 6,000.
“You can tell by our announcement today, we’re all in,” Cook told Irish national broadcaster RTÉ when asked whether Apple would scale back its Irish operations if EU regulators ruled against it.
If the European Commission finds Ireland’s tax deal with Apple constituted unfair state aid, Cook said, “We’re going to appeal, Ireland is going to appeal, and we’re going to support them because there was no special deal, no special arrangement.”
“I can’t say for sure what they’ll come back with but what I do know for sure is if the evidence is viewed on a fair basis, I believe strongly that it will be found that there is nothing wrong done,” he added.
Apple paid an average tax rate of just 2.5% on around $109 billion of non-U.S. profits in the five years to 2014, a fraction of Ireland’s 12.5% tax rate. It is one of several multinationals whose European tax dealings are being investigated by EU antitrust regulators, amid concerns they were granted sweetheart deals that gave them an illegal advantage over other companies.
Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said a ruling in the Apple case would likely be made after Christmas. He told reporters on Wednesday that he didn’t know if the decision would go against Ireland.
With the additional jobs announced Wednesday, about a quarter of Apple’s European-based staff will work in Cork, where it is the largest private sector employer. Cook said the company is paying the 12.5% corporate tax rate on the income that it generates in Ireland.