PARIS – (AP) –
The French government breathed a sigh of relief on Friday after the United States indefinitely postponed tariffs on French wine, cosmetics and other products designed as retaliation for a French tax on tech giants.
The U.S. Trade Representative’s office said in a statement Thursday that it had suspended tariffs on France, which were due to go into effect this week, as it was also investigating similar technology taxes from a growing number of other countries.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said his government “takes note” of the US decision and called for a global agreement on the taxation of online behemoths like Google and Amazon.
It is one of the many trade disputes that have damaged transatlantic relations in recent years. In a Friday statement to The Associated Press, Le Maire called for “a comprehensive settlement of trade disagreements between the United States and Europe, which are causing everyone to lose, especially in this time of crisis.”
The US government maintains that the French tax unfairly targets US businesses. France says its tax is aimed at any company with huge revenues and aims to make tech giants pay taxes in the countries where they do business rather than in tax havens.
While France has led the charge on technology taxes, several other countries have introduced similar measures that worry the United States, including Britain, India, Turkey and Brazil.
Negotiations on a global technology tax deal at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development were stalled after the Trump administration pulled out last summer. France and others hope the Biden administration will be more willing to strike a deal.