France and the EU are ready to fight back against US tariff threats on French products, French government ministers said yesterday.
The US on Monday threatened to impose tariffs of up to 100 percent on US$2.4 billion in French goods in retaliation for a digital services tax it says is discriminatory.
French Minister of Finance Bruno Le Maire described the US proposals as “unacceptable.”
“In case of new American sanctions, the European Union would be ready to riposte,” Le Maire told Radio Classique.
French Secretary of State for Economy and Finance Agnes Pannier-Runacher told Sud Radio that France would be “pugnacious” in its dealings with the US on the matter, and that France would not back down on its digital tax plans.
French sparkling wine, yogurt and Roquefort cheese are on the list of goods that could be targeted as soon as mid-January after a report from the US Trade Representative’s (USTR) office found that the digital tax penalizes US tech companies such as Google, Apple Inc, Facebook Inc and Amazon.com Inc.
France’s 3 percent levy applies to revenue from digital services earned by firms with more than 25 million euros ($27.7 million) in French revenue and 750 million euros worldwide.
The decision “sends a clear signal that the United States will take action against digital tax regimes that discriminate or otherwise impose undue burdens on US companies,” US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement.
Washington was also considering widening the investigation to look into similar taxes in Austria, Italy and Turkey, Lighthizer said.
“The USTR is focused on countering the growing protectionism of EU member states, which unfairly targets US companies, whether through digital services taxes or other efforts that target leading US digital services companies,” he said.
The announcement came just hours before US President Donald Trump was due to meet French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the NATO summit in London yesterday.
The USTR report “concluded that France’s Digital Services Tax (DST) discriminates against US companies, is inconsistent with prevailing principles of international tax policy, and is unusually burdensome for affected US companies.”
Industry groups welcomed the report, with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation saying in a statement that France’s tax is “narrowly and inappropriately targeted to raise revenue only from the largest companies in a small set of industries, many of them American.”
While applauding the USTR investigation, the Information Technology Industry Council’s vice president of policy Jennifer McCloskey said that the group would prefer to avoid “a strong trade response.”
“We respectfully urge the United States, France, and all participating governments to focus on a successful and lasting tax policy resolution” at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), she said in a statement.
In an interview on Monday prior to the USTR announcement, Le Maire accused Washington of losing interest in such a deal.
“Having demanded an international solution from the OECD, it [Washington] now isn’t sure it wants one,” Le Maire told France Inter radio. “We can see that the United States is shifting into reverse.”
Softbank Group Corp plans to keep a stake in the chip designer Arm Ltd, even if it sells a partial interest to Nvidia Corp, the Nikkei reported. The companies are negotiating terms, the newspaper reported, citing sources. Softbank might take a stake in Nvidia after it buys Arm, the report said. Nvidia and Arm might also merge through a share swap, and Softbank would become a major shareholder in the combined company, it said. The two parties aim to reach a deal in the next few weeks, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Nvidia is the
END TO SPECULATION: The hotel’s management contract has been extended, despite reports that it wanted to end its alliance with Hyatt Hotels over a deal with Riant Capital Singapore-based Hong Leong Hotel Development Ltd (豐隆大飯店股份) yesterday said it has extended a management contract to ensure the continued presence of the Grand Hyatt brand in Taipei, ending rumors that the two sides were parting ways. “We are pleased Hyatt is able to come to terms on the extension of the management contract of Grand Hyatt Taipei,” said Kwek Leng Beng (郭令明), executive chairman of City Developments Ltd (城市發展) and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Ltd (千禧國敦酒店). Hong Leong Hotel Development is a subsidiary of Millennium, and both fall under the Hong Leong Group (豐隆集團). The Grand Hyatt Taipei (台北君悅大飯店), owned and built by
Gold surged to a fresh record on Friday, fueled by US dollar weakness and low interest rates, while silver headed for its best month since 1979. Spot bullion is up more than 10 percent this month, as US real yields lingered near record lows. While the ferocity of rallies in gold and silver cooled in the middle of the week, most market watchers predict there might be more gains ahead. Both metals have added about 30 percent this year, with gold and silver exchange-traded funds boosting holdings to a record, as concern about the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic fuels demand for
MOVING FROM CHINA? The article did not name the company, but Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron were among firms chosen for a production-linked incentive plan in India An Apple Inc vendor is looking at shifting six production lines to India from China, which could result in US$5 billion of iPhone exports from the South Asian nation, the Times of India reported, citing people familiar with the matter who it did not identify. The establishment of the facility would create about 55,000 jobs over about a year, the newspaper reported, not naming the Apple vendor. It would also cater to the domestic market and expand operations to include tablets and laptops, the newspaper reported. Samsung Electronics Co and Apple’s assembly partners are among 22 companies that have pledged 110 billion