Published: Thu, July 11, 2019
Economy | By

USA 'concern' over French plan to tax tech giants

USA 'concern' over French plan to tax tech giants

Late Wednesday, the Trump administration announced an investigation into the tax under the provision used a year ago to probe China's technology policies, which led to tariffs on $250 billion United States of Chinese imports.

Despite U.S. pressure, French officials stood firm on Thursday, brushing off the criticism. The so-called 301 investigation is the same tool President Donald Trump used to impose tariffs on Chinese goods because of the country's alleged theft of intellectual property.

But the French move drew an angry response from Trump even before the legislation was passed, with the president ordering an investigation that the French economy minister said was unprecedented in the history of French-US relations.

"We applaud the Trump Administration for taking decisive action against France and for signaling to all of America's trading partners that the USA government will not acquiesce to tax and trade policies that discriminate against American businesses,"Amazon said".

France's proposed 3 per cent levy would hit global tech companies with at least 750 million euros (US$845 million) in worldwide revenue and digital sales totaling 25 million euros in France.

The measure was initially adopted by the lower house on July 4.

Other EU countries including Austria, Britain, Spain and Italy have also announced plans for their own digital taxes.

"I want to tell our American friends that this should be an incentive for them to accelerate even more our work to find an agreement on the global taxation of digital services", he said. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is working on a global solution on taxation for digital companies by 2020.

"The United States would not need to pursue this path if other countries would abandon these unilateral actions and focus their energies on the multilateral process that is underway", the statement added.

Section 301 investigations often result in tariffs if they find that the U.S. has been unfairly targeted. "They can go after products where they have leverage".

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, a Republican, and Senator Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the panel, praised the investigation. The lawmakers urged the look at "all available tools under US law to address such targeted and discriminatory taxation". France is the country most adamantly opposed to making any agriculture concessions.

Trump has also imposed new tariffs on imports of European Union steel and aluminum - and has threatened punitive duties on cars and auto parts if the two sides fail to reach an overall trade deal.

French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire delivers a speech during a high-level forum on debt at the Finance ministry in Paris, France, May 7, 2019.

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