France Finance Chief to Press Biden Team Today on Digital Taxes

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France is hoping for a quick end to the simmering transatlantic trade battle over its tax on technology giants such as Facebook Inc. as soon as President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire will speak with members of Biden’s team on Monday with the aim to end the bilateral conflict by getting the U.S. to back a global deal on taxation at the OECD.

“I really hope that this new Biden administration will mean a new start in the relationship between Europe and the U.S.,” Le Maire told Guy Collins on a Bloomberg EU Policy Series webinar. “One possibility of marking this new start will be to get a consensus at the OECD level by the beginning of 2021.”

map: Digital-Tax Fallout

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Digital-Tax Fallout

The issue has driven a rift between the two nations since France imposed a tax on the revenues of digital giants. A truce is due to end in the coming weeks: Paris is set to resume collection of the levy in December and the U.S. has lined up retaliatory tariffs for early January.


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Getting an agreement quickly at the OECD to prevent a trade war won’t be simple. When the organization missed a deadline for brokering a deal between 137 nations in October, it said there were still disagreements on several elements of new tax rules and a breakthrough would likely not come before mid-2021.

Le Maire said things have changed in recent months with companies including Facebook saying they would support a global deal and more countries putting in place unilateral measures.

“We will not spare our efforts to convince the new Biden administration to join the consensus which is currently the case in the OECD on global digital taxation,” Le Maire said.

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