Sun, Oct 28, 2018 - Page 16 News List

France, Germany close to technology tax deal: minister

AFP, BERLIN

French Minister of the Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire on Friday said he expects to reach agreement with Germany in the coming weeks on an EU digital tax targeting US technology giants.

Le Maire told journalists that a meeting in Berlin on Friday with German Federal Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz had been useful.

“I think a compromise in the coming weeks is possible and we will be able to send the clear message that we agree on a fair taxation of the Internet giants,” he added. “We made real progress today. I remain confident that we can deliver by the end of the year.”

The two ministers met for four hours to discuss a controversial EU proposal to slap a European tax on US tech giants.

The EU proposal is for a rapid 3 percent tax on revenue generated by certain kinds of activities, such as online advertising or selling personal data.

France has been pressing its EU partners to sign up to such an initiative, but Germany has been among the sceptics.

Scholz has come out in favor of a global minimum fiscal regime for multinational corporations, but media reports suggested that he was not yet convinced by the digital tax proposal from the EU.

Germany’s concern is that such a measure, which would target companies such as Google, Amazon.com Inc and Facebook Inc, would provoke retaliatory measures from the US.

Berlin would rather see an agreement in the framework of an international organization, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

According to one source close to Friday’s ministerial talks, a compromise under discussion is for the tax to be agreed in principle by the end of the year, but not implemented for 12 to 24 months.

Ireland and several northern European countries that host European bases of the tech companies targeted are not happy about the proposals.

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