Paris (dpa)11 July 2019 - French lawmakers on Thursday approved a 3-per-cent tax on the domestic turnover of tech giants, despite a US warning that the plan could lead to retaliatory measures.
Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire hit back at a US decision to open an investigation into the planned tax, saying that “between allies, we can and should settle our differences without using threats.”
The tax is expected to hit about 30 firms, mostly from the United States.
France decided to implement a national tax after similar proposals at EU level failed last year due to opposition from Scandinavian countries and Ireland.
According to European Commission research, internet firms typically pay between 8 and 9 per cent tax on profits, compared to around 23 per cent tax for traditional companies.
The US trade representative’s office Wednesday announced an investigation into the tax that could lead to countermeasures.
Le Maire said the US should instead help speed up efforts by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to find an “international solution” to the taxation of online giants.
The minister also issued a warning about Facebook’s plan to launch a digital currency. “Facebook’s planned Libra currency must not become a sovereign currency that could compete with state currencies,” Le Maire said.