France rejects Trump's wine and digital tax remarks: 'Please do not mix the two'

'The key question now is how we can we get consensus on fair taxation of digital activities,' says French finance minister 

Corazon Miller@c0ra_z0n
Tuesday 30 July 2019 10:57
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The French finance minister has told Donald Trump not to bring trade tariffs into the debate over proposed levies on digital services.

Bruno Le Maire was responding to the US president's threat to tax French wines in retaliation for the country's digital services tax, which Mr Trump said unjustly targets American companies.

Two weeks ago, the French senate approved a three per cent levy that will apply to revenue from digital services earned in France by companies with more than €25m (£22m) in French revenue and €750m (£675m) worldwide.

Today, Mr Le Maire said that France would proceed with its plans to implement a tax on big tech firms’ revenues.

"It's in our interest to have a fair digital tax," Le Maire told reporters, speaking in English.

"Please do not mix the two issues. The key question now is how we can we get consensus on fair taxation of digital activities."

Mr Trump blasted French president Emmanuel Macron's "foolishness" for pressing ahead with the French levy and warned his administration would announce "substantial reciprocal action".

"They shouldn't have done this," Mr Trump told reporters on Friday. "I told them, I said, 'Don't do it because if you do it, I'm going to tax your wine.'"

Today, Mr Le Maire reiterated Mr Macron's assurance that France would lift its national digital tax if there was a deal on a universal tax at the level of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

He added that France wanted leaders of the G7 group of nations to agree on the principle of universal taxation of digital activities at next month's summit in the coastal resort of Biarritz.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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