Paris Hopes 'still Room for Discussion' on US Tariffs
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Washington, Dec 3 (AFP) France believes there is still time to avert President Donald Trump's threat to slap tariffs on USD 2.4 billion in French merchandise in a dispute over a new digital services tax, a senior French official said Tuesday.

Ahead of a NATO summit in London, Trump on Monday unveiled plans for import duties of up to 100 per cent on French goods like Roquefort cheese as soon as mid-January, retaliating for a French digital tax which US officials say unfairly penalises tech giants like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

"We hope is that there is still room for discussion and for consultation and that this is not the end of the story," Cedric O, France's secretary of state for digital economy, told AFP.

"We have to explain and to convince them that first this is not a discriminatory tax, this is a tax that is supposed to tax every company that has a digital business model, be it an American, Chinese or European company."

US and French officials say they favour an over-arching agreement on taxation of digital commerce through the Group of 20 economic forum, under the auspices of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

"The first and foremost objective that we have is to strike a deal at the OECD," O told AFP on Tuesday.

In August, France agreed to refund taxes collected in excess of a yet-to-be-decided international formula.

Frustration has mounted in major economies with tech giants accused of exploiting fiscal rules to cut their tax bill sharply even as their profits soar. (AFP)

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