France, EU to retaliate possible US tariffs
France and the European Union (EU) would retaliate if the United States went ahead with the tariffs on French products that Washington has threatened to impose, French government ministers say.
The US administration on Monday threatened to impose punitive duties of up to 100% on 2.4 billion dollars’ worth of French products, including alcoholic drinks, cheese and handbags, in retaliation for France’s new digital services tax that Washington says would harm US tech companies such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook.
The US Trade Representative’s office said on Monday that its investigation had found that the French tax proposal was “unusually burdensome for affected US companies.”
Speaking to Radio Classique on Tuesday, France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire slammed the “unacceptable” US threat, saying, “In case of new American sanctions, the European Union would be ready to riposte.”
French junior economy minister, Agnes Pannier-Runacher, also said on Tuesday that France would not withdraw its digital tax plans.
She told Sud Radio that France would be “pugnacious” in its dealings with the US on the matter.
France’s digital tax is aimed at preventing tech firms from evading taxes by putting headquarters in low-tax European countries. The 3% tax is levied on any digital company with revenue of more than 850 million dollars with certain provisions. The tax will go into effect retroactively from early 2019.