PARIS - France adopted a pioneering tax on internet giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook on Thursday, despite U.S. threats of new tariffs on French imports.
The final vote in favor of the tax in the French Senate came hours after the Trump administration announced an investigation into the tax under the provision used last year to probe China's technology policies, which led to tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports.
”Between allies, we can, and we should, solve our differences without using threats,” Bruno Le Maire said. “France is a sovereign country. It will make its own sovereign decisions on fiscal measures.”
The tax amounts to a 3% annual levy on the French revenues of digital companies with yearly global sales worth more than 750 million euros ($844 million) and French revenue exceeding 25 million euros. The tax primarily targets those that use consumer data to sell online advertising.
”Each of us is seeing the emergence of economic giants with monopolistic attributes and who not only want to control a maximum amount of data and make money with this data, but also go further than that by, in the absence of rules, escaping taxes and putting into place instruments that could, tomorrow, become a sovereign currency,” Le Maire said.
The French Finance Ministry has estimated that the tax would raise about 500 million euros annually ($563 million) at first — but predicted fast growth.
The tech industry is warning that consumers could pay more. U.S. companies affected included Airbnb and Uber as well as those from China and Europe.
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