France goes ahead with digital tax, at the risk of US tariffs

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France will continue with plans to collect its controversial digital services tax in mid-December, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said, keeping Europe on track for a trade battle with the United States over taxation from tech giants like Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc. s Google.The French government suspended payment of its national digital revenue tax as the United States agreed to delay retaliatory tariffs. The truce was designed to allow time for international negotiations to reach a global agreement this year on new rules for taxing profits in the digital age. But those talks have stalled and won’t end until mid-2021.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the Group of 20 Major Economies, Le Maire said the United States had blocked any deal in negotiations led by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Europe must now move forward with a tax like France’s, he said.

Bruno the Mayor
Jasper Juinen / Bloomberg

“The only question we need to ask ourselves is whether we can accept that the big winners of this crisis, the digital giants, continue to be taxed less than other big companies – my answer is no, and three times no. », Declared Le Maire.

The Mayor added that he did not expect any major change in the clash with the United States, even if Joe Biden wins the November election.

“There could be a change on the issue of sanctions and how the United States will behave with Europe,” he said. “But I’m more skeptical of the fundamental change in the US position on the digital tax.”

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