Trump takes step that could expand his trade war, targeting the way other countries treat U.S. tech firms



David Lynch | The Washington Post

The Trump administration said Tuesday it was investigating digital services taxes being enforced or considered by several U.S. trading partners including the European Union, India and Brazil, opening the door to the first new tariffs since the economy tumbled into a deep recession.

The announcement from Robert E. Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative, showed that President Trump is determined to pursue his “America First” trade offensive despite the coronavirus pandemic that caused the economy to grind to a halt and the worst social unrest in more than 50 years.

The investigation follows a similar probe last year of a proposed French tax, which authorized the president to impose tariffs of up to 100 percent on a range of products from France, including popular wines and cheeses.

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