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In Brief: Ireland to phase out tax-minimization law

From Wire Reports

LONDON – Ireland said it would phase out a tax-minimization law that multinational companies have used to shift taxable revenue from an operating firm in Ireland to an Irish-registered firm in an offshore tax haven.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan announced the decision Tuesday in response to criticism around the world that the scheme was being used by Apple Inc. and other multinational corporations to shield revenue from taxation.

“I am abolishing the ability of companies to use the ‘Double Irish’ by changing our residency rules to require all companies registered in Ireland to also be tax resident,” Noonan told the Irish Parliament when delivering the annual budget.

The change will take effect on Jan. 1 for new companies, with a transition period for existing companies through 2020.

Noonan said Ireland would not bow to pressure from France and other European countries to lift its corporate tax rate from 12.5 percent.

Tacoma, Seattle ports vote to support alliance

TACOMA – Two rival ports, Tacoma and Seattle, Tuesday officially declared their intent to end their destructive competition over maritime customers.

In a historic joint session in Auburn, the two ruling port commissions each voted unanimously to ask the Federal Maritime Commission to grant them permission to operate their waterfront terminals jointly.

The two bodies had announced their intent to form an operating alliance last week. Tuesday’s vote made it official.

Now their petition to do so moves to the commission for 45 days of consideration and comment.

The two ports face sharpened competition from ports in Canada, in Southern California and on the East Coast for shipping business.

Costco to sell goods in China in Alibaba deal

SEATTLE – Costco Wholesale has struck a deal with a unit of Internet retail giant Alibaba Group to open an online store serving customers in mainland China, its first dip into that burgeoning market.

The Issaquah-based warehouse club will sell its private label Kirkland Signature products and other items through Tmall Global, an Alibaba Group platform that allows foreign retailers to sell items to Chinese customers without setting up a physical presence in China.

At the company’s conference calls, analysts often ask when the company, which has 10 warehouses in Taiwan, will open in mainland China. Executives respond that they are focusing on first figuring out markets such as Spain and on waiting for the right opportunity.

The partnership with Tmall, which Alibaba said will quench Chinese shoppers’ thirst for foreign brands, could be a good start.

NEW YORK – Nike’s Converse brand is suing 31 companies, saying they are selling knockoff versions of its Chuck Taylor shoes.

Converse is suing Skechers USA, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., FILA, Ed Hardy, K-Mart Corp. and Ralph Lauren Corp., among many others. It said the companies are infringing on trademarks that cover the look of the shoe and the diamond pattern on the bottom of the sole.

Converse said look-alike Chuck Taylor shoes have become more common in recent years and said it has served about 180 cease and desist letters related to the issue since 2008.

Nike Inc. acquired North Andover, Massachusetts-based Converse in 2003.

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