U.S. could impose tariffs on French imports in retaliation against ‘tech tax’

Elias Hubbard
July 11, 2019

Earlier, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters that USA president Donald Trump's administration will launch an investigation into tax on technology giants planned by France, which could potentially result in retaliatory tariffs on France.

The announcement, which is set for around 5 p.m. (2100 GMT) Wednesday in Washington, will give U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer up to a year to investigate if France's digital-tax plan would hurt U.S. technology companies, the source said.

Mr Lighthizer said the USA was concerned that the plans would unfairly target American tech companies, and said it would investigate whether it was discriminatory.

Earlier, France said that it would start taxing giant USA targets digital companies with global annual sales of more than 750 million euros ($849 million) and sales in France of at least 25 million euros after European Union failed to agree on the bloc-wide digital tax.

The "Section 301" investigation will determine if the levy poses an unfair trade practice.

Any digital company with a revenue of more than 750 million euros - of which at least 25m is made in France - would be subject to the tax. French lawmakers refer to the proposal as Les GAFA, an acronym for Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple - companies France has accused of not paying their fare share of income tax.

Apple reportedly reached a deal a year ago with French authorities to back-pay 500 million euros ($571 million) in taxes.

"Today's move by USTR is an important step in exercising American leadership to stem the tide of new discriminatory taxes across Europe", Jordan Haas, the director of trade policy for the Internet Association, said in a statement.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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