French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned the UNITED States on Monday that any retaliation for France’s new digital service tax could “deeply and lastingly” damage relations. Last July, the French parliament passed a tax law that would impose a 3% tax on the revenues of multinational technology companies in France, including US tech giants such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.
The move has upset the US government. Later, a U.S. government survey showed that the French tax would hurt U.S. technology companies. To that end, the U.S. government last month threatened to impose tariffs of up to 100 percent on imports of $2.4 billion worth of champagne, handbags and other French products.
In response, Le Maire told France Inter radio today: “If the Americans decide to continue to impose sanctions on digital taxes … In this case, we will retaliate. He added: “If the U.S. wants sanctions, we could also take sanctions, and we’ll contact the WTO immediately.” ”
Mr. LeMaier also said he had written to Robert Lightiser, the US trade negotiator, on the issue and would discuss the issue by phone with Steven Mnuchin, us Treasury Secretary.
“If the United States decides to impose trade sanctions on the EU on the French digital services tax, it will have a profound and lasting impact on the transatlantic relationship,” Le Maire wrote in his letter to Mr. Leiter. ”
In his letter, Le Maire also said that France is “in contact with the European Commission and other EU member states on this issue” and that they are “considering options to defend our right to trade, as we have done in the past”.
In fact, Mr Le Maire said last July: “France is a sovereign country and has the right to decide its own tax rules.” He added that the United States and France could reach an agreement, but not through threats.