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France rebuffs Trump on wine tax threat

Published:  29 July, 2019

Bruno Le Maire, France’s minister of finance, has rejected a threat from US President Donald Trump to impose a levy on imports of French wine into the US.

President Trump issued the threat in response to France’s plans to tax digital sales.

Both the French senate and the national assembly have approved a levy of 3% on digital service revenues for companies that earn more than €750m worldwide, of which at least €25m must be earned in France.

The levy targets companies such as Apple, Google and Amazon which pay little or no tax on sales in jurisdictions where they do not have a significant corporate presence.

President Trump wrote on Twitter: ”France just put a digital tax on our great American technology companies… We will announce a substantial reciprocal action on Macron's foolishness shortly. I've always said American wine is better than French wine!"

President Trump is teetotal.

Asked to comment at a press conference, Le Maire said: ”"It's in our interest to have a fair digital tax. Please do not mix the two issues. The key question now is how we can we get consensus on fair taxation of digital activities.”

France is committed to lifting the digital sales tax if the OECD agrees on the principle of a universal digital tax.