So Apple still rumbles along in Ireland despite the EU’s best efforts to attract it to the ah, mainland.
Central to the Apple saga is of course money. The richest company in the World has loads of it and greedy grabbing hands are reaching out for a share of it. Donald Trump wants the USA to get its hands on a lot of it, Mad Mags, the EU competition commissioner wants Ireland to get €14 billion of it so that the rest of Europe can fight squabble over their share. Unsurprisingly, Apple would like to keep their gotten gains safe and secure offshore and they have a battery of high-end legal Dicks to fight off any advances. But what is truly at stake here?
For a variety of reasons, Ireland has attracted all of the major names in both the Pharmaceutical and Technology industries and these big boys originate in the United States. They all maintain their Global Headquarters in America but most of them have also chosen to headquarter in Ireland for their non-American business. But the good old USA has stubbornly insisted that Corporate Tax on their side of the pond be in the region of 37%. The big boys pay the piper Stateside for what they do over there but they’ve all looked for a much better deal for their overseas profits and that’s where Ireland came in. We had lowered our corporate rate to 12.5% years before.
So which of them are here? Apple has been based in Cork since 1980 and has recently invested €850m in a new data centre in Galway. In Dublin’s Silicon Docks, you’ll find the EMEA Headquarters for social media giants Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. E-commerce stars Amazon, Etsy, Zalando, Groupon, PayPal, AirBnB and Uber are all based here, as well as IT staples such as Siemens, HP, Intel, Dell, Microsoft and Symantec. Representing the gaming sphere, you’ll find EA, PopCap, Riot Games and Zynga. And key Cloud Service pioneers include Adobe, Dropbox, Salesforce and SAP, who have centres in Dublin and Galway.
Apple alone holds $231 billion overseas, or 94 percent of the $246 billion cash hoard the company had as of the end of 2016, according to Moody’s annual investor report, which was released in July. As they seek to avoid repatriation taxes, the total amount of cash held overseas by U.S. companies climbed to $1.3 trillion at the end of 2016, up from $1.2 trillion in 2015, Moody’s said.
But Apple are not the only ones. Microsoft, which according to the Moody’s report had 95 percent of its $131.2 billion cash hoard abroad at the end of 2016; Alphabet Google (60 percent of $86.3 billion) and Oracle (88 percent of $52.8 billion). Cisco, with their European Headquarters in Holland, had 87 percent of their $71.8 billion abroad. The term abroad should be understood as some zero-tax haven like the Cayman Islands. I haven’t the time to cover the big Pharmas headquartered here but you’d have to think the likes of Pfizer and the rest of them here have a few bob squirreled away too.
The Donald though has a plan. He is proposing to drop the US Corp. rate to just 20% and going further by declaring a tax repatriation holiday for a period, with a temporary 10% rate to attract the loot back to Momma. If it works that will be some Mother-lode. It would represent a massive investment in US business and industry instead of the usual Arms Industry recipients. The US not only stands to get 10% of $1.3 trillion, (Trillion for fucks sake!), but the other 90% of it could be brought to bear on investing in the American workforce and bringing manufacturing jobs back home, a change from training their kids in warfare and invasion. This would put the American fox squarely in the EU chicken coop. In such a scenario, Ireland would quietly and discreetly blend into the background scenery while the big egos in Brussels would scream blue murder at the Yanks. A European/US trade war would be on the cards with the unedifying prospect of sanctions against America and vice versa.
If that did happen though, who do you think Brexit-Britain would side with? …………… Yup! Me too.