France says latest US trade threats over digital tax are “contradiction”

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PARIS – French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire criticized US threats of trade sanctions against taxes on digital services, which he said conflicted with calls for G7 unity on other issues .

Washington launched surveys on digital service taxes adopted or contemplated by Britain, Italy, Brazil and other countries on Tuesday, following an earlier investigation into France, with the aim of lead to new punitive tariffs.

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“There is a real contradiction between the United States’ call for unity in the G7, which we support, and the possibility of new trade sanctions,” Le Maire told his G7 counterparts during a conference call.

Paris proposed in January to suspend its digital tax on the income of technology companies in France until the end of the year while new rules for cross-border taxation of large digital companies are being negotiated at the Cooperation Organization and economic development (OECD).

French Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire (Credit: ERIC PIERMONT / AFP via Getty Images)

Although most countries want new international rules to be adopted by the end of the year, the coronavirus epidemic has slowed progress in the OECD talks. Meanwhile, France has said it will tax large digital companies this year, whether there is progress or not.

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“We will not give any land to the digital tax. I call on all G7 states to step up their work at the OECD to reach an international solution by the end of 2020, “said Le Maire.

An official with the French finance ministry said his remarks were echoed by his British, Italian and European counterparts when the G7 was called.

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