France, US seek to stave off the threat of tariffs

Clay Curtis
December 6, 2019

The US said on Monday that it could impose sanctions of up to 100% on $2.4 billion in imports of Champagne, handbags, cheese, and other products.

"The USTR is focused on countering the growing protectionism of European Union member states, which unfairly targets US companies, whether through digital services taxes or other efforts that target leading US digital services companies".

"It's simply unacceptable", French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Tuesday on Radio Classique. Washington says France's digital tax discriminates against United States tech companies.

The French 3% tax imposed this year applies to digital services earned by firms with more than €25m in French revenue and €750m worldwide.

The "301" trade probe against France was launched in July after Mr Macron signed the DST into law, aimed at taxing digital companies that did substantial business in France.

In a report this week, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said the French tech tax law "discriminates against U.S. digital companies" and is "unusually burdensome".

Speaking to reporters in London, US President Trump said "I'm not going to let anyone take advantage of American companies".

France said the tax is temporary, until an global solution is found, but the USA government claims the tax is "discriminatory" against US companies.

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Mr Trump arrived in the United Kingdom for a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit pledging to slap a £2billion levy on French products including champagne and cheese after Emmanuel Macron introduced a "digital services tax".

French wine and cheese producers expressed dismay about being caught in the middle of the battle over digital revenues.

"The USTR is focused on countering the growing protectionism of European Union member states, which unfairly targets US companies, whether through digital services taxes or other efforts that target leading US digital services companies", he said.

As we all know that US President Donald Trump has chose to tax French products like Champagne, Wine, Roquefort, Cheese, make up, products, homeware etc.

The United States initiated its Section 301 investigation into France's planned tax on digital services on July 10, accusing the French government of "unfairly targeting the tax at certain US -based technology companies".

The US trade agency says it will be seeking public comments through mid-January on the newly-proposed 100 percent tariff on French goods. This could act as a roadblock in the OECD's broad effort to have 135 countries agree on how to tax multinational corporations and prevent them from shifting profits to tax havens.

US tech giants including Google, Amazon and Facebook had called for the tax to be scrapped. Ron Wyden. In a joint statement, they assailed the French digital tax as "unreasonable, protectionist and discriminatory". "I am determined to defend the interests of my country and of Europe", Macron said, seated next to Trump. President Donald Trump had already made it clear that he would levy additional taxes on French wines and other products. "We'd rather not do that, but that's the way it would work".

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