You are here

US to announce, but defer, retaliation over French digital tax: USTR

nz_robert_100735.jpg
The Trump administration will announce actions against France over its digital services tax but will defer them while France defers tax collections from US technology firms, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Thursday.

[WASHINGTON] The Trump administration will announce actions against France over its digital services tax but will defer them while France defers tax collections from US technology firms, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Thursday.

The actions, expected by industry to be announced on Friday, are tied to a US Section 301 probe into France's digital tax, which Washington says discriminates against US tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Apple Inc.

The United States last month withdrew from multilateral talks to reach a global solution on digital services taxation, citing a lack of progress in the negotiations.

"We're going to announce that we're going to be taking certain sanctions against France, suspending them like they're suspending collection of the taxes right now," Mr Lighthizer told an online event hosted by the London-based Chatham House think tank.

Officials from the European Union delegation and French Embassy in Washington were not immediately available to comment.

Your feedback is important to us

Tell us what you think. Email us at btuserfeedback@sph.com.sg

One industry source said USTR could announce an action on Friday reserving the right to impose tariffs on around US$500 million worth of French goods that were included in a larger list published in December, while deferring implementation.

USTR in December said it could slap punitive duties of up to 100 per cent on US$2.4 billion in imports from France, including goods such as Champagne, handbags and cheese, after concluding the French tax would harm US tech companies.

The list targeted some products that were spared from 25 per cent tariffs imposed by the United States over disputed European Union aircraft subsidies, including sparkling wines, handbags and make-up preparations.

Spokespeople for the European Union delegation in Washington and the French embassy could not immediately be reached for comment.

The issue will be a topic when finance ministers from both the Group of Seven advanced economies and the Group of 20 major economies meet in coming weeks.

REUTERS

BT is now on Telegram!

For daily updates on weekdays and specially selected content for the weekend. Subscribe to t.me/BizTimes