U.S. vows 100% tariffs on French Champagne, cheese, purses over digital tax

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FILE PHOTO: An worker serves a glass of Champagne through the conventional wine harvest on the Champagne home Deutz in Ay, France, September 22, 2016. Information/Benoit Tessier/File Photograph

WASHINGTON (Information) – The U.S. authorities on Monday mentioned it could slap punitive duties of as much as 100% on $2.four billion in imports of French Champagne, purses, cheese and different merchandise, after concluding that France’s new digital providers tax would hurt U.S. tech firms.

The U.S. Commerce Consultant’s workplace mentioned its “Part 301” investigation discovered that the French tax was “inconsistent with prevailing ideas of worldwide tax coverage, and is unusually burdensome for affected U.S. firms”, together with Alphabet Inc’s Google (GOOGL.O), Fb Inc (FB.O), Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O).

U.S. Commerce Consultant Robert Lighthizer mentioned the U.S. authorities was additionally exploring whether or not to open comparable investigations into the digital providers taxes of Austria, Italy and Turkey.

“The USTR is concentrated on countering the rising protectionism of EU member states, which unfairly targets U.S. firms, whether or not via digital providers taxes or different efforts that focus on main U.S. digital providers firms.”

The commerce company mentioned it might gather public feedback on its proposed tariff checklist via Jan. 14 and maintain a public listening to on Jan. 7. It didn’t specify an efficient date for the proposed 100% duties.

The checklist targets some merchandise that had been spared from 25% tariffs imposed by the USA over disputed plane subsidies, together with glowing wines, purses and make-up preparations – merchandise that might hit French luxurious items big LVMH (LVMH.PA) and cosmetics maker L’Oreal (OREP.PA) laborious.

The findings received favor from U.S. lawmakers and U.S. tech business teams.

“The French digital providers tax is unreasonable, protectionist and discriminatory,” Senators Charles Grassley and Ron Wyden, the highest Republican and Democrat, respectively, on the Senate Finance Committee, mentioned in a joint assertion.

A spokeswoman for the French embassy in Washington couldn’t instantly be reached for remark.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal And David Lawder; Modifying by Leslie Adler and Lisa Shumaker