France Moving Forward With Big Tech Taxes


Despite President Donald Trump’s recent threats, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said that his country is moving forward with taxing big tech firms.

His comments came after Trump threatened to tax French wines in retaliation for its plan for a digital services tax, which he says unfairly targets U.S. companies.

“It’s in our interest to have a fair digital tax,” Le Maire told reporters, according to Reuters. “Please do not mix the two issues. The key question now is how we can we get consensus on fair taxation of digital activities.”

Earlier this month France’s Senate passed the tax on digital firms with revenues exceeding $750 million, with a minimum of $28 million generated in the country. It is said to target approximately 30 different firms including Alphabet, Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft. Tech firms would have to pay a 3 percent tax on sales in the nation.

Other European Union countries, including Austria, Britain, Spain and Italy, have also announced plans for their own digital taxes.

While an investigation by the United States aims to determine if the measure unfairly targets U.S. firms, France claims the tax is to simply make sure these firms are paying their share in nations where they lack a big physical presence. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is said to have 12 months to look into the tax.

“The United States is very concerned that the digital services tax which is expected to pass the French Senate tomorrow unfairly targets American companies,” Lighthizer said. “The president has directed that we investigate the effects of this legislation and determine whether it is discriminatory or unreasonable and burdens or restricts United States commerce.”

And last week, Trump blasted French President Emmanuel Macron’s “foolishness” for pressing ahead with the tax, warning that his administration would announce “substantial reciprocal action.”

“They shouldn’t have done this,” Trump said. “I told them, I said, ‘Don’t do it because if you do it, I’m going to tax your wine.’”