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French diplomat: France, US agree to extend digital tax row talks

PARIS: Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump have agreed to increase negotiations on a dispute over a French tax on digital giants to the tip of the yr, suspending Washington’s risk of sanctions towards Paris, a French diplomatic supply mentioned Jan 20.

The supply mentioned the French and US leaders, who spoke on Jan 19, had agreed to provide negotiations an opportunity to “discover a resolution in a world framework” and keep away from “a commerce battle that may profit nobody”.

Macron tweeted earlier on Jan 20 that he had had a “nice dialogue” with Trump on the problem. “We are going to work collectively on settlement to keep away from tariff escalation,” he mentioned.

“Glorious!” replied Trump on Twitter.

The White Home mentioned the 2 males spoke and “agreed it is very important full profitable negotiations on the digital providers tax, they usually additionally mentioned different bilateral points.”

The dispute started final yr when Paris accredited a levy on as much as three p.c of revenues earned by expertise corporations in France, as worldwide efforts dragged on to discover a new mannequin for taxing revenues earned by way of on-line gross sales and promoting.

Tech corporations usually pay little tax in nations through which they aren’t bodily current.

Washington mentioned the tax singled out US corporations equivalent to Google, Apple, Fb, Amazon and Netflix, and threatened duties of as much as 100% of the worth of French imports of such emblematic items as Champagne and Camembert cheese.

On Jan 7, the 2 sides gave themselves 15 days to achieve a deal to avert the US risk of duties on as much as US$2.4bil (RM9.78bil) of French items.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who has been conducting intensive negotiations for the final a number of weeks, was much less sanguine than Macron, describing the talks as “very troublesome” earlier on Jan 20.

Avoiding sanctions that could possibly be introduced as quickly as Jan 22 is “removed from assured”, he instructed French tv LCI.

Le Maire is because of meet US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on the World Financial Discussion board assembly in Davos on Jan 22.

They’re anticipated to proceed talks in search of a negotiated settlement within the Group for Financial Cooperation and Growth (OECD).

“France is pursuing its goal of truthful taxation on digital corporations and discovering a compromise throughout the framework of the OECD,” the French presidency mentioned on Jan 20.

France has mentioned it could drop its tax if a world settlement is reached.

After blocking the OECD talks for a number of years, Washington relaunched them final yr solely to make proposals in December which France rejected. – AFP

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