Reference News Network reported on January 8 that foreign media said that French Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Lemaire warned the United States that if the United States tried to "highly disproportionate" tariffs, it would retaliate against France's proposed imposition of large technology companies such as Google and Amazon. "Digital tax", France and the EU will take countermeasures.
Taiwan ’s “Business Times” website reported on January 7th that in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Lemer said, “If the United States decides to impose trade sanctions on the EU over the French 'digital tax', the two sides should unite. A moment of unity will seriously affect relations across the Atlantic. "
According to the report, Lemer pointed out in his letter that France has approached the European Commission and other EU member states on this issue, the latter thinking carefully about various options to safeguard the EU's trade rights.
Analysts said that if the United States imposes tariffs on the EU, the EU may counteract. Lemer is scheduled to meet with EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan in the morning of January 7, local time, and the two sides will discuss a feasible solution.
Lighthizer is scheduled to preside over a public hearing on January 7 to consider responding to the French "digital tax" with tariffs. US tech industry players support the U.S. Trade Representative Office's tough stance in imposing tariffs on French and EU goods.
According to the report, if neither the United States nor France intends to soften their stance, the "digital tax" dispute between the two countries may turn into a trade war on both sides of the Atlantic. Since France announced a "digital tax" on technology companies, countries such as the United Kingdom, Austria, Italy and Turkey have followed suit.
The U.S. Trade Representative's Office released a survey report on France's "digital tax" in December 2019. The United States considers the "digital tax" to be "unfairly targeted at US businesses" and recommends that the Trump administration take retaliation measures.
Lemer wrote in the letter that the French "digital tax" is not targeted at US technology companies. The "digital tax" is in line with the WTO's norms. Once the OECD completes legislation, France will revoke the "digital tax".
It is reported that more than 20 countries and regions have begun to implement "digital tax" or consider their respective collection methods. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he will ensure a fair contribution from US tech giants such as Facebook, Google and Amazon.
(Responsible editor: Ma Changyan)