Ireland on Wednesday strongly denied the assertion that it had a special deal with U.S.-based multinational Apple on the tax rate it pays.
"There is no special deal for Apple or any other company," said Barry O'Leary, chief executive of IDA Ireland, which is responsible for attracting foreign direct investment in Ireland.
However, he was unable to deny that Apple paid an effective tax rate of 2 percent, as outlined at a U.S. Senate hearing.
"The important thing is, and for Ireland's credibility, is the transparency of the 12.5 percent corporation tax rate for activities that are carried out in Ireland," he told Ireland's state broadcaster RTE.
"There may be a case of where they refer to non-tax resident entities that give them an overall global tax-rate more comparable to some of their competitors, but there is no special deal for them," he added.
O'Leary also said Ireland competes on the global stage for investment.
"There are many countries that have good tax offerings, including individual states in the United States and countries like Luxembourg, Belgium, Holland and the UK increasingly," he said.
"There is global competition and tax happens to be one of the areas that Ireland competes for global investment."
Apple on Tuesday confirmed that two of its Irish subsidiaries pay around 2 percent in tax. However, the company rejected claims that its Irish operation was used to avoid liabilities in the United States.
Appearing before a U.S. Senate hearing on tax, Apple's head of tax policy Phillip Bullock confirmed that two Irish subsidiaries, Apple Operations Europe and Apple Sales International, paid approximately 2 percent in tax.
When asked about its reasons for operating in Ireland, CEO Tim Cook said that the company had received a "tax incentive arrangement" as part of its decision to establish here in 1980. However, he said the company paid all of its tax on U.S. earnings, and had paid 6 billion U.S. dollars to the U.S. Treasury last year.