By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 11 February 2022 • 13:37
A study has revealed that despite not paying taxes in most countries including Spain, that Amazon has received more than 4,000 million euros in public subsidies since 2012.
The e-commerce giant, which achieved record sales in Europe in 2020 of 44,000 million euros, has been identified as having received grants and allowances from 13 countries to build warehouses, data centres and even in one case audio visual production units.
Large companies like Amazon are well known for their tendency to seek the most advantageous tax situations, often at the expense of traditional businesses line Zara’s parent company Iniditex that paid five times as much tax as Amazon did in 2020.
Many are already unhappy that the likes of Amazon were favoured during the pandemic but this news will do little to appease them.
Amongst those is the international trade union UNI Global Union and the American pro-transparency organisation Good Jobs First, who conducted the investigation. They were able to detect 407 Amazon facilities in 13 countries that have been subsidised with public money. Most of these were in the United States (4,180 million dollars), but also many in Europe, and even some in Spain.
The subsidised projects range from warehouses for its products to data centres, call centres and even film and television productions for its Prime Video platform.
Among the largest public outlays for the benefit of Amazon are the 262 million dollars (230 million euros) it received for a data centre in Montreal (Canada) and 180 million for another data centre in São Paulo (Brazil).
Included in the cases is one in Spain where a subsidy of 4.4 million euros was provided for the start up of a warehouse in the industrial estate of Bobes in Siero, Asturias. It is understood that the subsidy is likely to have been granted by the Asturian regional government, but which it was not made public alleging the existence of a confidentiality agreement.
The Siero centre should start operating in the autumn of 2023 with a further 23.4 million euros to be spent by the Asturian government on the AS-17 highway, according to El Comercio . This work is key to connecting the warehouse with the A-66 motorway, the main communication route in the region.
The investigation also includes public aid to an Amazon film production, but does not indicate what it is. It is believed that some of the money was used to fund productions for Amazon Spain.
The study was originally undertaken to raise awareness of the poor working conditions at Amazon according to UNI Global Union General Secretary Christy Hoffman, who said: “Amazon is spying on its workers and lowering working conditions.They shouldn’t get a dime from taxpayers.”
Kenneth Thomas, a researcher at Good Jobs First said: “Amazon’s fast-delivery business model requires warehouses everywhere, near highways, airports, and other businesses. There is no reason for a national, regional, or local government to help Amazon deal with the costs of operations.” that are at the core of their strategy.”
In his view, the more than 4,000 million euros received by Amazon from public subsidies should have been used to support small and medium-sized companies, and governments should reveal the name of all the entities that have received public aid.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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