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How Trump could use tariffs to fight back against France’s tax on US technology giants

CNBC [1]
July 15, 2019

President Donald Trump could fight back against France’s new tax on U.S. technology companies by unleashing biting tariffs on key French goods, according to trade experts.

The French Senate on Thursday passed a 3% tax [2] that will affect American firms such as Facebook [3] and Google [4]. The tax, already approved by France’s National Assembly, would apply to companies that draw about $850 million in revenue worldwide from digital services — and about $28 million from within France.

Ahead of the tax’s passage, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative started an investigation into whether the measure “is discriminatory or unreasonable and burdens or restricts United States commerce,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Wednesday. Once it finishes the probe, the agency could retaliate with tariffs or other steps to deter France — and potentially other countries — from putting new taxes on top U.S. companies.

“Once the investigation is complete, USTR will determine based on the findings of the investigation whether and what action should be taken,” the USTR said in a statement Thursday when asked how the administration could hit back at France.

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