Publicado: Vie, Julio 12, 2019
Financiera | Por Marilu Caballero

Trump trade representative to investigate French tech tax

Trump trade representative to investigate French tech tax

Robert Lighthizer, a US Trade Representative, raised concerns the about the new tax in France, which was passed by the French Senate on Thursday, saying it "unfairly targets American companies".

France has adopted a pioneering tax on internet giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook despite threats from the U.S.

The Trump administration has promised an investigation after French lawmakers approved a bill Thursday to impose a tax on large technology firms that provide services in France. The move comes in spite of the Trump administration claiming the tax "unfairly targets American companies", and warnings that the United States could respond with its own tariffs or trade restrictions. The proposed digital services tax may not be limited to France, since it's being looked at by other European countries as well. The measure would levy a 3 percent tax on certain revenue that major tech companies earn in France. The levy will apply to companies with more than 500 million pounds (US$626 million) in revenue, if more than 25 million pounds comes from British users.

But French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire France rejected the USA reaction today, saying "threats" were not the way to resolve such disputes.

"This is a critical step toward preventing protectionist taxes on global trade", CCIA official Matt Schruers said in a statement, calling on France "to lead the effort toward more ambitious global tax reform, instead of the discriminatory national tax measures that harm global trade".

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"France is a sovereign country, its decisions on tax matters are sovereign and will continue to be sovereign", Le Maire said. "Once again, I think that threats, sanctions, are not the good way of sorting out difficulties that we might have between the USA and France".

In government documents seen by Yahoo Finance UK, officials said there is a "misalignment" in global tax rules between where companies now pay their taxes and where they profit from their users. The latest Section 301 investigation could lead the United States to impose new tariffs on French imports, if Washington and Paris cannot reach a negotiated settlement. Lighthizer's agency will investigate the tax under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. United States companies affected included Airbnb and Uber as well as those from China and Europe. Other EU nations have announced their own plans for digital taxes, including Britain, Spain and Italy.

The 301 probe was used on China a year ago resulting in the USA slapping tariffs on the country, The Washington Post reported. "For us, (the tax) is totally compliant with global agreements".

Most tech giants have offices in countries like Ireland or Luxembourg, where low tax regimes prevail.

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