U.S. to suspend retaliation contingent on France suspending digital tax

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Thursday that the Trump administration will announce actions against France over its digital services tax but will defer them while France defers tax collections from U.S. technology firms.

FranceIn May, French finance minister Bruno Le Maire vowed that France would tax big digital businesses this year whether there is progress or not towards an international deal on a levy, claiming that such a tax had never been more legitimate or more necessary.

Last December, the U.S. vowed 100% tariffs on $2.4 billion in imports from France over such a digital tax that would harm U.S. tech firms including Apple.

Steve Goldstein for MarketWatch:

“We’re going to announce that we’re going to be taking certain sanctions against France, suspending them like they’re suspending collection of the taxes right now,” Lighthizer said, according to Reuters. The U.S. says the French tax discriminates against companies such as Alphabet, Facebook, and Apple.


The United States last month withdrew from multilateral talks to reach a global solution on digital services taxation, citing a lack of progress in the negotiations.

MacDailyNews Take: Carrot and stick.

As we wrote back in April 2019:

As per the EU itself, the smart approach for Apple et al. is to lobby for harmonized EU taxation over a state-by-state patchwork of taxes, as that will at least offer simplicity, stability, and predictability.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


    1. OOops, those Chinese plates seem to contain abnormally high amounts of lead and cadmium. Some plates as much as 100,000PPM. 90PPM and below are considered safe. Mexican ketchup tastes the best, but that’s because its full of sugar. The American stuff is full of corn syrup. Choose your poison. I’d go with Sugar, and I don’t think they grow potatoes in in Mexico, but you want the russet type for the long skinny, crunchy French Fries.

        1. The series on Netflix is a blast and there was actually a lot of culinary science referenced. I’ve been deep into anime while on lockdown. Last night I binged one Calle Japan Sinks which is about a family trying to survive after a major earthquake in which, Japan Sinks.

          Artwork was beautiful but man is it an emotional roller coaster. They didn’t pull any punches,

  1. Apple paid only 8 million dollars on 1.8 billion dollars in revenue in the UK last year which is 533.33 dollars if you had a salary of 120,000 dollars (if you had access like the big boys). The tax on gross income is coming from all countries.

    There are only a few countries in world worth living in with a nice non kidnapping environment, freedom and infrastructure, Brazil, China, Russia and most of the world aren’t on the list.

    To have the first world and that road for a 911, Corvette, BMW, Tesla or Ford F150 with a nice hospital, good schools, and somewhat nice people requires paid upkeep by all.

  2. Danox, don’t try to make sense to people who think that taxes are robbery and government services are financed by the Easter Bunny. These are the same folks who find it reasonable to stall multinational talks on digital taxation for years on end, and then withdraw from the negotiations because they aren’t making progress.

    This problem ONLY has a multinational solution, because it is a multinational problem created by the unavoidable existence of multinational corporations. It can’t be solved one country at a time without creating tax havens that will shortchange both the US and its trading partners. Foreign trade isn’t an optional extra for a sound American economy. For example, Apple makes 60% of its revenue overseas.

    Punishing France for failing to come up with a solution that is not within its unilateral (or even bilateral) control is craziness.

    1. The Digital tax is a sure thing most countries are wising up, like most actors in Hollywood did, always take a percentage of the gross revenue and never the net revenue, which in Hollywood will never show a profit.

  3. If you can’t have a multinational agreement then you institute a cash flow tax. What ever the cash flow is in particular country is then taxed at whatever rate the country determines.

    1. The problem is, as it so often is these days, the rise of nationalism and unilateralism. Brexit and MAGA are far from the only shades of an older world walking among us. Any tax levied by one country on a company headquartered in another country tends to be seen as an act of aggression these days, to be met with retaliation. The solution, to agree on a rational international tax system, is ruled out by those who regard any treaty obligation as an invasion (rather than an expression) of national sovereignty .

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.