Washington does not agree with the taxes that Paris has imposed on a number of American companies.
The US government said it could impose punitive duties of up to 100% on imported French champagne, bags, cheese and other goods worth $ 2.4 billion after Washington concluded that the new tax on digital services in France might harm technology companies of the United States.
The office of the US President’s representative to international trade negotiations said its investigation demonstrated that the French tax imposed was “incompatible with the principles of international tax policy and is unusually burdensome for us companies” including Google Alphabet, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon.
US trade representative Robert Lighthizer said the US government is also considering whether to launch similar investigations into the imposition of taxes on digital services in Austria, Italy, and Turkey.
“The office is focused on countering the growing protectionism of EU member States that unfairly target American companies, or through taxes on digital services, or other efforts targeting leading American companies providing digital services.”
The US trade agency said it plans to gather comments from the public on the proposed tariff list by January 14, as well as hold a public hearing on January 7. The date of entry into force of the proposed 100% duties has not yet been specified.
The list could include some products that were previously exempt from 25% duties imposed by the United States on controversial subsidies for the airline industry, including sparkling wines, bags, and makeup products – goods that would hit French luxury goods giant LVMH and cosmetics maker L’Oréal hard.
The findings of the US trade Agency have received approval from US lawmakers and US technology groups.
“The French tax on digital services is unreasonable, protectionist and discriminatory,” senators Charles Grassley and Ron Wyden, Republican and Democratic members of the Senate Finance Committee, said in a joint statement.