Macron urges Apple chief to boost investment in France

October 23, 2018
Macron is trying to get Apple to invest more in France

French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday urged Apple's chief executive Tim Cook to invest more in his country, even as Paris pursues a new EU tax on the revenues of technology giants.

Macron called for Apple to go beyond a mere marketing presence in France and finance projects with higher added value, his office said.

Macron also discussed Apple's -sharing policies with app developers, in the wake of a French anti-fraud investigation over allegations the company had abused its dominant market position.

Paris hopes that a European initiative known as "Platform to business" will allow for increased revenue sharing between US tech giants and European start-ups.

Macron also invited Cook to attend the next French-sponsored "Tech for Good" summit, a bid to encourage major players to help support educational and environmental initiatives.

Their meeting came as French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire appealed to the European Parliament to make a "clear, direct and strong decision" on taxing digital economy giants.

France is leading the charge for a minimum tax rate for companies such as Apple, Google and Amazon to be applied on their revenues throughout the European Union.

The goal is to stop companies from shifting declaring their revenues in EU member states with the most lenient tax rules, even if they generate the bulk of their sales elsewhere in the bloc.

"How can we accept that millions of European consumers freely hand over their data without a tax being passed?" Le Maire asked deputies gathered in Strasbourg, eastern France.

But such a measure will need the unanimous backing of all 28 EU members, and Germany and other countries remain wary of a tax which could inflame trans-Atlantic tensions.

Berlin in particular worries that Washington could see the digital tax as an attack on Silicon Valley's giants, and retaliate with tariffs on German auto imports, as has been threatened by President Donald Trump.

"I understand such fears, but have heard no rational, factual or convincing arguments to speak against this tax," Le Maire said.

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