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A cup of Tim Hortons coffee is pictured Burger King Whopper at a Burger King restaurant in Toronto on Monday August 25, 2014.Chris Young/The Globe and Mail

Burger King Worldwide Inc.'s $12.5-billion takeover of Tim Hortons Inc. is not a tax dodge, says Finance Minister Joe Oliver.

The merger, which will see Burger King shift its global head office to Canada from the United States, is not a case of "treaty shopping," where companies create offshore shell companies to avoid paying taxes anywhere, Mr. Oliver insisted Sunday.

"Double non-taxation is what countries are concerned about," Mr. Oliver said in a conference call with reporters after a meeting of finance and central bank chiefs from the Group of 20 industrialized and developing countries in Cairns, Australia.

"But that is not the case in this matter at all. It's important to make that clear distinction. This company will be paying its taxes and it will be paying taxes where it operates, in Canada, in the United States and elsewhere."

Mr. Oliver said he raised the Burger King-Tim Hortons takeover with U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew in Cairns. Mr. Lew has vowed to take action to block so-called "tax inversions," where companies merge with a corporation in a lower-tax jurisdiction and then shift their head office.

Mr. Oliver said there are "different views" on whether the Burger King-Tim Hortons deal is a tax inversion at all.

"It's up to him to decide what he wants to do," Mr. Oliver said. "We are certainly not a targeting tax inversion prospects."

Executives of Miami-based Burger King and its biggest shareholder, 3G Capital Group, a Brazilian private equity fund, insist that saving tax is not a driving force behind the deal. Company officials have said its current tax rate in the U.S. is in the "mid-to-high" 20 per cent range, or roughly the same as it would pay in Canada.

"The United States has to make up its own mind," Mr. Oliver said, noting that the White House may try to apply new rules retroactively. "We just don't know how far that might go."

Mr. Oliver said Canada has long talked up its lower corporate tax rates versus the U.S. and elsewhere as a lure for investment and capital. "From our perspective, it's not surprising that some companies would be attracted to our lower cost environment in Canada," he said.