France warns the U.S. of EU retaliation over trade taxes

France
Published:  07 January, 2020

Bruno Le Maire, France’s Finance Minister, has warned the U.S. administration of a possible EU retaliation if the latter goes ahead with “disproportionate” trade tariffs.

The French Minister has urged the U.S. to renounce the threatened sanctions against France over the taxation of U.S. tech giants such as Google and Amazon. "This trade war is in no one's interest and I call on our American friends to display wisdom, to return to their senses", said Le Maire. In December, the U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to start a trade war against France for its new tax on tech giants, unveiling retaliatory duties on US$2.4 billion worth of products, including French leather handbags, wines, and cosmetics.

On January 3, in a letter to Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. Trade Representative, Le Maire said that “if the U.S. were to decide to impose trade sanctions against the EU over the French Digital Services Tax, it would deeply and durably affect the transatlantic relationship at a time when we need to stand united” and added that France is “in touch with the European Commission and other EU Member States on the subject” and that they are “contemplating the various options to defend our trade rights in a proportionate and determined manner, as we have in the past.”

France has recently approved a new levy on tech firms, which includes up to 3% of online company revenue and advertising gained in France.

Sources: RFi/Financial Times/Local France