U.S. may bite back after France taxes tech firms

Video Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on July 11, 2019 - Duration: 01:41s

U.S. may bite back after France taxes tech firms

France has voted to put an extra 3% tax on tech firms, and Washington is already thinking about whether to retaliate.

Julian Satterthwaite reports.

U.S. may bite back after France taxes tech firms

France has voted to put an extra tax on tech firms. And that hasn't gone down well in Washington.

French lawmakers on Thursday (July 11) passed plans for the special three percent levy.

Finance minister Bruno Le Maire says it's not aimed at any particular firm: (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER, BRUNO LE MAIRE, SAYING: "Data is taxed at a level 14 points lower than other economic activity.

Therefore all we're doing is restoring fiscal fairness." Donald Trump isn't convinced.

The U.S. president has already ordered a review of the French move.

He suspects it's aimed at tech giants like Google and Facebook.

The tax will apply to firms with significant business in France, and global revenues over 845 million dollars.

Now the U.S. review could lead to new tariffs or other retaliatory measures.

Le Maire says Washington should back off: (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER, BRUNO LE MAIRE, SAYING: "I profoundly believe that between allies we can and should resolve our differences through means other than threats." France pushed ahead with the tax after EU states failed to agree a common plan.

It will apply retroactively from the start of 2019.

Britain, Spain and Italy have similiar plans.

They're all angry at the way tech firms book profits in low-tax places like Ireland, no matter where the sales take place.

In theory, it's all a separate matter from the transatlantic spat over trade and tariffs.

But Trump may not let it stay that way.

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