Local media in Singapore have questioned the situation in the EU after the Apple case. Singapore firms could be targeted by the EC if these companies enter into anti-competitive agreements that distort competition within the EU. Some experts also pointed out that tax uncertainty in the EU can benefit Singapore due to its transparent and appealing tax system.
On August 30, the European Commission concluded that Ireland gave Apple illegal tax benefits of €13 billion between the years 2003 to 2014. The Irish government has been ordered to recover the funds plus interest. Both, the Irish Government and Apple said they will appeal against the decision.
Mr Chris Humphrey, executive director of the EU-Asean Business Council, said that the Apple case concerns allegations of unfair state subsidies and is an anti-competition issue. He pointed out that as long as companies and the authorities abide by the law in the EU, no problems could arise, The Straits Times reported.
Another experts have pointed out that the ruling can potentially affect Singapore's sovereign rights to use its tax system to attract real economic activity, if there is any perceived unfair competition. "If certain countries are not adopting measures in accordance with (EU rules on profit shifting), whether or not they can blacklist them remains to be seen," he said.
Experts also pointed out that the Apple decision has created uncertainty in the EU, from which Singapore can potentially benefit, The Straits Times reported. Already after the Brexit, experts have argued that due to unstable tax environment in the EU, foreign investors could shift their investments into Singapore, due to its positive regulatory environment and tax advantages.
Last week, Singapore also agreed on automatic exchange of financial account information with Australia, with which it has taken another step in enhancing its tax transparency.
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