July 18, 2018 / 12:00 PM / 4 months ago

After record Google fine, EU's Vestager says she likes the U.S.

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager addresses a news conference on Google in Brussels, Belgium, July 18, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said she “very much liked” the United States, countering a reported remark by President Donald Trump that she “hated” the country because of her antitrust actions against U.S. firms.

“I very much like the U.S.,” Vestager told a news conference to announce a record fine on Google (GOOGL.O) after she was asked about what Trump was quoted as saying at a G7 summit last month.

The U.S. president told Vestager’s boss, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, “your tax lady, she hates the U.S.”, according to summit participants.

That appeared to be a reference to her pursuit of Apple Inc. (AAPL.O) and other U.S. companies for channelling profits through low-tax EU states.

Vestager said that as a Dane she was predisposed to feel positive towards the United States.

“But the fact is that this has nothing to do with how I feel. Nothing whatsoever. Just as enforcing competition law, we do it in the world, but we do not do it in political context,” she added.

Vestager added she would continue to enforce competition law, no matter the political context.

Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by Alastair Macdonald

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