The United States is preparing a retaliation in the way of tariffs on $2.4 billion worth of French exports – after France said it would go ahead with plans to add a digital services tax on US tech companies.
The US's top trade official made it clear he thinks the new French tax law, that was approved back in July is unfairly directed at US tech giants and so they are going to make up for the difference with high tariffs on French exports.
The retaliation “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”, said US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer.
Lighthizer announced the possible tariffs, which will now enter what is known as the public comment period, as soon as his investigation of the French tax ended.
Lighthizer's investigation says that France's new tax – which taxes a tech company's revenue instead of the profit was out of line with tax norms and said that it would be “burdensome” for US tech firms.
“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,” Lighthizer's said.
President Trump is currently in the UK for a NATO meeting and it's likely that the topic of the French tax on tech companies will come up.