Washington — US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has announced an investigation into France’s proposed digital services tax, which is widely understood as targeting U.S. technology companies for unique taxation. The French measure cleared the lower house of Parliament last week. A vote in the French senate is expected as early as Thursday.

The French tax would retroactively require U.S. services exporting to France to turn over a percentage of their revenues from the beginning of this year to French tax authorities. The French proposal is similar one that EU Member States abandoned earlier this year after conflicts with international trade law became evident.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association has repeatedly warned that such taxes violate international trade commitments, including in a 2018 trade filing addressing possible trade implications of  various digital tax proposals in Europe.

The following can be attributed to CCIA Chief Operating Officer Matt Schruers:

“This is a critical step toward preventing protectionist taxes on global trade.  The French proposal left USTR little choice but to initiate an investigation of this discriminatory tax on US companies, and we applaud Ambassador Lighthizer’s swift response to this threat to U.S. exports.”

“CCIA encourages France to lead the effort toward more ambitious global tax reform, instead of the discriminatory national tax measures that harm global trade.”

 

For media inquiries, please contact Heather Greenfield hgreenfield@ccianet.org