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Tim Cook meets with President Macron amid tech taxes talk

French president leading an effort to get tech giants to pay more taxes where the profits are earned.


Apple CEO Tim Cook met Monday with French President Emmanuel Macron.

James Martin/CNET

Apple CEO Tim Cook met with Emmanuel Macron on Monday in Paris but reportedly didn't quarrel with the French president over a proposal in Europe to extract more taxes from tech giants.

Macron is spearheading a group of European nations in an effort to change laws that allow companies to minimize their tax burden by funneling revenue through countries such as Ireland and the Netherlands. The two didn't discuss past disputes, but Cook accepted that laws are changing to hold companies accountable for taxes where profits are actually earned, Macron's office told Bloomberg.

Tax deals in Europe have come under scrutiny by the EU over the past couple of years. The EU believes Ireland hasn't been collecting enough taxes and instead has been giving companies like Apple too big of a break on Ireland's already low 12.5 percent tax rate.

Last year, the EU ordered Apple to pay a whopping 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) in back taxes. Apple has contended that the commission is trying to change the rules after the fact.

The meeting comes less than a week after European regulators slapped Amazon with a bill for 250 million euros (about $294 million) in unpaid taxes. The European Commission determined that Amazon had had an illegal deal with Luxembourg since 2003 that allowed the company to move money between its subsidiaries so profits were taxed there instead of a country with a higher corporate rate. 

The meeting, held at the French presidential palace at Cook's request, also focused on climate change, education and French economic reforms, Bloomberg reported. 

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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