France hoping to resolve digital tax spat with US this week

Economy minister Bruno Le Maire wants Washington to lift threat of tariffs on French products. (AFP pic)

PARIS: French economy minister Bruno Le Maire said he hoped to resolve a row with the United States over a planned French digital tax by Wednesday evening of this week.

“We are ready to make steps towards the United States, and we have already proposed a certain number of measures. We hope to reach a resolution by Wednesday,” Le Maire told LCI television on Monday, adding he would meet US counterparts at the Davos World Economic forum in Switzerland this week.

France decided in July to apply a 3% levy on revenue from digital services earned in France by firms with revenues of more than €25 million in France and €750 million worldwide.

Washington has threatened to impose taxes on key French products in response.

Last week, the French government said the United States risked a proliferation of national taxes on tech giants if President Donald Trump rejected new international rules for taxing digital companies at the World Economic Forum.

Le Maire wants a US commitment in Davos to the international tax reform and is also pressing Washington to lift a threat of tariffs on French champagne, cheese and luxury handbags made in retaliation for France’s own digital tax.

Agreement was close on a universal tax proposal drawn up by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Le Maire said, but Washington needed to take the “last step” to reach a compromise.