Saturday, 20 July 2019

US ‘threats’ not way to solve digital tax law dispute: France

Photograph: Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images

PARIS:  France rejected a US investigation into its plans to tax internet giants which could trigger punitive tariffs, saying “threats” were not the way to resolve disputes.

“Between allies, I believe we can and must resolve our differences in another way than through threats,” Economy Minister Bruno le Maire told the French Senate ahead of a vote. If the law is passed, as expected, France will become the first major economy to impose a tax on internet heavyweights.

Dubbed the GAFA tax, an acronym for Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, the legislation will impose a levy of 3.0 percent on total annual revenues of the largest tech firms providing services trench consumers.

Le Maire said he was warned about the so-called Section 301 investigation during a “long conversation” with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday.

“It is the first time in the history of the relationship between the United States and France that the US administration has decided to open a procedure under Section 301,” he said.

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