In the dispute over the taxation of digital corporations, France and the United States have agreed on a framework agreement to avoid a trade conflict. France is ready to suspend due payments on the national digital tax by the end of the year, said Economics and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire in Davos on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum. For its part, the United States would waive retaliatory duties on products such as wine and cheese.
The agreement could avoid a new trade dispute between the United States and the European Union. Before Le Maire's announcement, French government circles had already announced that the digital tax for tech giants like Amazon, Google and Facebook should be postponed to the end of the year as a gesture of goodwill.
However, Le Maire reiterated that France was basically sticking to its digital tax. "France will not accept a tax waiver or suspension unless there is an international solution," said the finance minister. The UK had previously reaffirmed its digital tax plans.
Gafa tax for Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple
An international solution is being sought within the framework of the industrialized nations organization OECD, said Le Maire after a meeting with his US colleague Steven Mnuchin regarding taxation. There is now a "global common framework" with the United States. For the basis of the talks at the OECD, there should be another meeting on Thursday.
France has levied a digital tax of three percent on the turnover of large internet companies that have so far hardly paid any taxes in Europe. US President Donald Trump had described the levy as unfair and threatened with punitive tariffs on French luxury goods worth 2.2 billion euros. The French parliament passed the so-called Gafa tax - named after the first letters of the US internet companies Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple - in the summer.
Talks within the EU to introduce a digital tax have been going on for years. Appropriate attempts had failed due to resistance from several EU countries last year.