France approves digital tax on American tech giants, defying US trade threat



Elizabeth Schulze | CNBC

France’s Senate approved a tax on the revenues of tech giants like GoogleAmazon and Facebook on Thursday, defying a warning from the President Donald Trump administration that it “unfairly targets American companies.”

On Wednesday, Trump ordered an investigation into France’s planned “digital tax” on tech companies. The 3% tax would apply to the French revenues of roughly 30 major companies, mostly from the U.S.

“France is sovereign, and France decides its own tax rules. And this will continue to be the case,” France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said in a statement.

He added the U.S. and France could find agreements, rather than using threats, to reach a deal on the “fair taxation” of internet giants.

In a statement Wednesday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the U.S. will investigate whether the French tax “is discriminatory or unreasonable and burdens or restricts United States commerce.” The investigation could lead to the U.S. imposing tariffs or trade restrictions on French goods, potentially escalating the global fight over trade.

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