Gafa tax: Washington plans to seize WTO

The United States plans to seize the World Trade Organization (WTO) taxes in their eyes “discriminatory” that France and other European countries want to impose on internet giants like Facebook and Google, said Tuesday at Paris an American leader. “In our government, some are investigating whether this discriminatory impact would give us the right (to challenge) under trade agreements and WTO treaties,” said Chip Harper, head of the Treasury and US delegate for international tax discussions.

“We believe that the entire theoretical basis for taxes on digital services is poorly designed and that the result is highly discriminatory against US-based multinationals,” Chip Harter told reporters, including AFP. on the eve of a two-day meeting in Paris at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The OECD is spearheading negotiations to forge a new global deal on the taxation of technology and digital giants, who often declare their incomes in low-tax countries, depriving other countries of billions of dollars in revenues. income. But this recasting is expected at the earliest next year, pushing France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Austria and Italy to adopt their own version of a “tax on digital services” from this year, called Gafa Tax (acronym for Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple).

France “is a free and sovereign state that decides on its taxation and who decides freely and sovereignly,” said Tuesday the French Minister of Finance, Bruno Le Maire, reacting to the US threats on Gafa tax. Asked about the US threats to seize the WTO against Gafa taxes, the Mayor said in Brussels that “it did not question the bill that will be studied from April 4 at the National Assembly.” .

Failure within 28

The 28 EU countries have formally suspended Tuesday the project of a European tax on the digital giants because of the opposition of four of them. The 28 finance ministers, meeting in Brussels, have sent the ball back to the OECD, where talks are continuing to reach an agreement on an international tax on digital giants by 2020.

“In the event that by the end of 2020, it appears that the agreement at the OECD level is taking longer, the Council – that is to say the 28 ministers of the EU– could, if necessary, return to the discussion on a European approach, “said Romanian Finance Minister Eugen Orlando Teodorovici, after a meeting of the 28.

As expected, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark and Finland on Tuesday rejected this initiative of European legislation, which leads to block the project because in tax matters, unanimity is needed within the Union to achieve a deal. “I'm sorry we could not get along today.” I agree with Bruno (The Mayor, French Finance Minister), it's a missed opportunity, “said the European Commissioner for Economic Affairs Pierre Moscovici, after the meeting of the 28 ministers.

This failure among the 28 was expected and had pushed France to present on March 6 last its own project of tax on the digital giants. Nevertheless, the European project is not totally dead, as Mr Moscovici also stressed: “In 2020, if we have not managed to reach an international agreement, we must continue to move forward. not intend to withdraw his project from the table, it is not the end, it is not dead.

(With AFP)

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