A semblance of calm after the storm. The threat of customs taxes imposed by the United States on a series of French products, in response to the adoption by France of a law on the taxation of Internet giants, has moved away, Tuesday, December 3.
"We have a minor dispute, which I think we will overcome," said US President Donald Trump at a meeting with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in London. The latter adopted the same conciliatory tone, saying he thought "that with President Donald Trump we can resolve this situation."
It remains to be seen how. Because the day before, still, Donald Trump seemed very reassembled against the French law adopted last July, allowing to tax more heavily the giants of the Net. For Washington, this text poses "an abnormal burden on American companies", such as Google, Facebook and Apple, who are the main players in the sector. The administration therefore gave the green light to the US president to impose tariffs of up to 100% on the equivalent of 2.15 billion euros of French exports, including cheese sparkling wines or bags.
"Uncertainty and constant pressure"
Paris took the American threat very badly, especially since last August, France and the United States had reached an agreement on this issue, which seemed to rule out the risk of American reprisals. The Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire has thus denounced an American decision "unacceptable" and assured that France would never give up its tax on Gafa. He even called on the European Union to reinforce that this commercial attack against France was, in fact, aimed at Europe as a whole.
"The Trump administration is pushing for Paris to withdraw its tax, but it also wants to send the message to other governments that they would be massacred" if they followed the French example, assured AFP a negotiating specialist international taxes, on condition of anonymity.
The Trump administration has made the defense of the interests of American companies one of its main battlehorses. The risk is that after the friendly in London, the American president returns to its threat of customs duties. Indeed, the United States applies with France the same strategy that they used in the trade war with China and even with Germany by threatening to tax car imports. He maintains "uncertainty and constant pressure," said Vincent Vicard, an economist specializing in digital at the Center for Prospective Studies and International Information (CEPII), interviewed by AFP.