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Thu Jul 11, 2019, 01:23 AM

U.S. launches probe of French plans to tax tech giants, a potential step to retaliation and a new

transatlantic trade rift


By Jeanne Whalen and Tony Romm at the Washington Post


The investigation illustrates growing alarm among U.S. officials and industry executives about the prospect of new taxes on technology giants spreading beyond France. A number of other countries are consideringsimilar levies, on the belief that wealthy U.S. tech giants aren’t paying enough in taxes worldwide.

“The United States is very concerned that the digital services tax which is expected to pass the French Senate tomorrow unfairly targets American companies,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer said in a statement Wednesday as his office announced the probe. “The President has directed that we investigate the effects of this legislation and determine whether it is discriminatory or unreasonable and burdens or restricts United States commerce.”

French officials didn’t immediately provide comment.

The French levy would impose a 3 percent tax on certain revenue that large tech companies earn inside France. Legislators call it a tax on Les GAFA — the acronym for Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple — companies that France has accused of paying insufficient income tax.


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